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A manager worth working for: how do you know when you've found the right manager to throw in with?

THERE WAS FRED, PAUL, BOO, JOHN, STAN, Larry, Jerry, Terry and Mr. Benion just to mention the ones that come immediately to mind.

Those people are bosses I have had over the years. Mr. Benion was one of the first. He owned the drug store in Buffalo, N.Y., where I held my first real job besides a paper route. I was a soda jerk behind a fountain, making and serving shakes and hamburgers.

But only a couple of these guys were really worth working for.

By being worth it I mean they either turned me on to their plan, helped me learn something or taught me something about life or success.

For example, Mr. Benion didn't talk to me very much. When he closed the lunch counter in his pharmacy, all he told me was that I didn't have a job anymore. I had no idea whether I was part of the problem or part of the solution.

If you're the boss, you have to get me to buy into a worthwhile goal, and an organized plan to get it accomplished. Without those two ingredients, you will have little chance of keeping top producers on your team.

A few really good bosses that I've had, however, had some things in common. Here are four characteristics of successful bosses that you don't find in everyone. They can make the difference between an exciting, rewarding job and one that has you looking for reasons to play golf instead of work.

A great boss makes me feel important if not critical to success. If you're the boss and I'm the worker, you have to spend the time necessary to explain and bring me in on your plan as a key player. Your plan will be aggressive and exciting. You will have to convince me not only that I am essential to achieving the goal but also that I have what it takes to get the job done. To a large extent, my confidence is your responsibility.

A great boss is a builder of people. If you're the boss, I will think that you get a bigger kick out of my success than you do from your own. I will be convinced that you are truly interested in my success, in my achieving whatever it is that I consider important. You will have spent considerable time with me to get to know what makes me tick and what my goals are. You will be a believer in training and education and you will see to it that I get all I need to be the best in my field. You will have found a way to roll up my goals into yours. If I am successful, we will both be successful.

A great boss knows the difference between "managing" and "leading." If you are the boss, you know that we manage "things" and lead "people." You manage meetings, calendars, production schedules, rate sheets, etc. A great boss leads people by putting it all together so that everyone gets it. You have a great plan, sell it to great people, create a team by giving everyone a stake and showing them how they will get closer to their personal goals through team success.

A great boss will help you keep your life balanced. If you are the boss you will make it clear that education and family are every bit as important as job. If someone uses all their energy on the "job" it's likely they won't last, much less have a successful life in the greater sense.


If you find someone who thinks like this, throw in with them. It will be fun, educational and rewarding.

PAT WIESNER is the retired CEO of Wiesner Publishing, publisher of ColoradoBiz. He now spends much of his time leading sales and management training for the company.
COPYRIGHT 2004 Wiesner Publications, Inc.
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Copyright 2004 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Author:Wiesner, Pat
Article Type:Column
Geographic Code:1U8CO
Date:Feb 1, 2004
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