7 Things You’d Put in the Employee Handbook if You Could

2 min read · 7 years ago


If only you could spell out clearly the essential principles of being a good employee. This is what you'd want your team to know.

Being the boss is hard work, so if you are the boss, make your life easier and point your employees toward this post. These seven secrets never seem to make it into employee handbooks:

1. All bosses are not created equal.

Working for a "fogey" requires patience, while working for a "whippersnapper" requires tolerance. "Social directors" want to talk and talk and talk, while "dictators" simply want you to follow orders. Knowing the type of boss you have is essential to making and keeping that boss happy.

2. Your No. 1 job is to make your boss more successful.

No matter how important you think your activities are, they're counterproductive unless they help your boss advance his or her agenda. What about your own career and your own advancement? It turns out that making you and everyone else on your team more successful is your boss's No. 1 job.

3. Your manager needs to be managed…by you.

Contrary to popular belief, management is not a one-way street. Just as your boss tries to arrange situations and secure resources so you can do your best work, it's up to you to provide your boss with the information and insight that she needs to do her best work, when it comes to helping you.

4. Performance reviews are opportunities, not report cards.

It's easy to think of your quarterly or yearly performance review as a way to find out how you've been doing in the boss's opinion. But that's not what's really going on. Your performance review is more about what you'll be doing in the future than how you did in the past. The past is history; now it's time to negotiate.

5. Raises are tied to your results, not your needs.

You may feel that you need and deserve more money because something changed in your life; for instance, if you got married, you moved, or you had kids. Unfortunately, that's not the case. The only time you deserve a raise is when you've increased the financial performance of your company.

6. Once you agree to an unreasonable request, it's part of your job.

Stressed bosses sometimes come up with tasks–like washing a car or picking up laundry–that you may not feel should be part of your job. If you don't want do that task all the time, don't do it the first time. Raise your objections immediately, before the boss becomes dependent upon you to take care of those tasks.

7. Bosses who yell want you set boundaries.

When some bosses get frustrated, they start yelling. When the people who work for such bosses cower and placate, it only makes the boss more frustrated, because it confirms that he's surrounded by skulking cowards. On the other hand, if you stand up for yourself, it tells the boss that you've got self-respect and can therefore be trusted.

The above is based on my new book, Business Without the Bullsh*t: 49 Secrets and Shortcuts that You Need to Know. Preorder it before May 12 and get an exclusive bonus chapter and an author-signed bookplate.

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