6 Things You Didn’t Know About Your Boss

CEOs have gotten a bad rap lately.

In some cases, their Robber Baron reputations are well-deserved. Some chief executives do collect enormous compensation packages while underpaying and otherwise exploiting their employees. These are people who don’t value their workers and (often) their customers.

But they don’t represent the majority of senior managers and business owners – and they aren’t the subject of this article. This article is about the honest, hard-working entrepreneurs who lead small and mid-sized companies – managers who want to treat their employees well.

As an employee, you may find it difficult to understand your boss’s point of view, much less empathize with him or her. To help change that, I’ve created a short list of how the good employer thinks. Whether you’re interested in climbing the ladder at your current company or launching your own firm, these insights should serve you well.

1. We hate firing employees. One of the most uncomfortable things a manager can do is fire an employee. It’s almost as stressful for the terminator as the terminated. We know the employee’s feelings will be hurt, not to mention their wallet. We really don’t like getting rid of an employee unless the person isn’t a good fit or has violated company policy. We’d much rather the employee do a great job and be a productive team member, but unfortunately, that’s not always the case.

2. We hate infighting among employees. Petty infighting and personality conflicts are the most annoying and disruptive things that can occur in a company. We bosses want a harmonious environment in which everyone works as a team, shares a common vision and strives to achieve that vision. When employees tattle on each other or toss each other under a bus, it’s not looked on favorably by senior management. In fact, it can seriously damage your chances for promotion. My advice: “Find ways to work together. You don’t have to like each other, but you do need to get along.”

3. We work longer hours than you. All too often, we’re working nights and on weekends while you’re out enjoying dinner and a movie. We may be stressed about moving the company forward and ensuring continued growth. We may be obsessing over how to guarantee the organization’s short-term viability, so you’ll have a job to come back to on Monday morning. We may be brainstorming new products and solutions that we’re too busy to contemplate during regular working hours.

4. We want you to succeed. Some employees believe that we want them to fail. In reality, nothing could be farther from the truth. The effort we expend in hiring and training you costs time and money. Just as important, we want a team that will help us grow and beat our competition. Causing you to fail would be an exercise in self-defeating behavior. We want you to be successful – to expand your skills and become a long-term team member. If you do a good job, it helps both the company and you to succeed.

5. Just because we don’t talk with you doesn’t mean we don’t care. As leaders, we have a lot on our minds – new client meetings, marketing strategies, personnel issues, legal issues, finance and tax questions, etc. At any given moment, there is so much on our plates that we may pass by without saying hello. That doesn’t mean we don’t care. I make sure to talk with my team leaders to discover who is excelling, and when I have time, I stop by to acknowledge the great work they’re doing.

6. We often take fewer vacations than you. Many of my employees have more frequent and longer vacations than I do. They’re traveling the world while I’m sitting at home thinking of new ways to grow the company. The belief that a CEO spends most of her time driving expensive cars between mansions when he or she isn’t visiting exotic destinations is often a fiction. Much of the time, it’s the employees who enjoy greater daily benefits. At my company we occasionally hire massage therapists to visit the office, and we regularly buy lunches and snacks for everyone. We aim to take care of our employees and value their efforts as it’s a team effort when it comes to success.

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