What do you want in a boss


It was three in the morning and the phone rang.

Well, it didn’t exactly ring. In radio stations a light flashes when there’s a phone call. I’d been working weekend overnights for a couple of weeks and it was Bernie, my boss.

“Hey,” he said, “you sound good.”

He pointed out some concrete things that he liked that I was doing. He’d been concerned whether or not I’d fit the format of this station because I’d come from a higher energy station. He also wanted to point out something I needed to change.

“Try not to use the word ‘stuff’ on the air. You’re using it a lot tonight.”

Three in the morning and my boss is checking on my while I work. More than that, he took the time to give me immediate feedback.

I miss that.

I never knew when I was being observed by the boss and so I just assumed I always was.

Most radio stations have hot lines. This is a designated phone line that bosses and coworkers use to call the on air personality when he or she may not be answering the phone lines the listeners call.

Bernie never used them.

Bernie only called on the listener lines. He wanted to see how quickly we responded to regular listeners and how we greeted them when they called. The boss was always watching and didn’t make a difference to how I performed my job.

In so many jobs it’s bad news when you catch the boss’ attention. The boss doesn’t call you or email you or wave you into his or her office unless you’re in some sort of trouble. At my last gig I never heard from the owners to tell me they liked the work I was doing. I either had trouble getting their attention or I was getting long emails about what they didn’t like about my work. At one point I realized it was effecting the way I was working — it had sucked the enthusiasm I had for a job I had once loved. It was time to leave.

Bernie knew that within minutes of his calling me, I would have to open the microphone and talk to the audience again. His comments had to make their point but he had to make sure I still felt good about what I was doing that I would stay positive and engaged.

What do I want from my boss? I want someone who wants me to excel at my job and progress in my career. I want someone who supports me in that effort and gives me guidance when needed.