Everyone knows Good Boss Energy when they see it, and we can all agree it’s empowering and contagious. Maybe you notice it in your boss – the person who is not only crushing their job, but also makes time to check in and make sure you’re doing well. Or maybe it’s the boss who goes out of their way to find new growth opportunities for you, simply because they want you to succeed as much as they are!
If you are in a leadership position, harnessing your good boss energy is energizing to all who work for and with you. Demonstrating qualities related to Good Boss Energy is incredibly beneficial.. Let’s walk through what “Good Boss Energy” is and different ways you can exude this energy to those you work with.
The term “Good Boss Energy” was started by the HubSpot’s social team as an opportunity to introduce positivity when it comes to discussing corporate culture on social media.
HubSpot’s Managing Editor, Leslie Green stated on Brand Social, “#CorporateTok is the internet’s favorite work venting venue. But to grow better, you have to do things differently. When we entered TikTok, we saw a huge opportunity to flip the script on corporate negativity and celebrate all things “good work” and “good leadership” by introducing “Good Boss Energy”.
Green continues, “Good Boss Energy” is our culture code in action. HubSpot’s culture is driven by a shared passion for our mission and metrics. It is a culture of amazing, growth-minded people whose values include using good judgment and solving for the customer. Good Boss Energy highlights the importance of authenticity in leadership and having HEART (being Humble, Empathetic, Adaptable, Remarkable, and Transparent.) By creating our very own Good Boss Energy ambassadors, we filled #CorporateTok with much needed positivity, established HubSpot as our audience’s growth soulmate, and demonstrated how growing better can start with you. The water cooler really is half full when you have Good Boss Energy around.”
Resa Gooding, a Principle Manager on the HubSpot Customer Success team, said she started her week with two direct reports resigning. This immediately made her question whether she was giving off Good Boss Energy and if she was, then why were employees leaving?
“I was tempted to berate myself and ask ‘What did I do wrong? Why are they leaving me? Was I such a bad manager?” Gooding said. After assessing these questions, she realized they weren’t leaving her – they were leaving the job.
“Sometimes, circumstances happen and life has a different calling for you. And it’s okay to answer that call. That is growth and progress – learning to move out of your comfort zone and get uncomfortable again.”
Gooding continues, “Both individuals were very smart and good at what they did, and I believe my role was to help them work on other aspects of themselves that would empower them to become risk-takers.”
Good Boss Energy means you go the extra mile to help your employees learn, grow and succeed. This includes a focus on each individual’s strengths, ways to help them develop those strengths, and finally, teaching them ways to incorporate those strengths into their careers.
Gooding adds, “In the end I consider my Good Boss Energy to be really a translation of Good PEOPLE Energy. We need to remember that whether you are a boss or an individual contributor, our purpose should be to leave everyone we come into contact with better off than when we met them.”
Kyle Denhoff, Director of Marketing for HubSpot’s Media team, believes being a great listener helps him give off Good Boss Energy.
He stated, “I pride myself on this. My mother is a clinical social worker and she taught me how to listen to people and truly understand how they see the world. While many leaders have skills and experience to direct their team, the best leaders listen first.”
He adds, “You’ll want to meet with team members 1:1 and ask thoughtful questions. Get to know them as a person, and try to understand their pain points and motivations. Be an active listener and ask follow up questions. You’ll also want to help your team members see the wider context by connecting the dots for them – it will help them understand how they contribute to the larger goal. Once you have this skill, you will notice that your team members trust you more.”
Listening to people is a vital skill that will benefit you in any workplace relationship. Nearly all employees have been in situations where they feel like their manager is not truly listening to them – which can come across like they don’t care about their employee’s progress, challenges, or them as people.
Customer Onboarding Specialist Manager, Rory Kelly believes having good boss energy is actually very simple, as long as you demonstrate empathy.
Empathy is a vital component of being successful in leadership. A recent HubSpot survey found 80% of CEOs believe empathy is a key driver of success, as it builds trust, prevents a toxic workplace, and helps increase employee retention and engagement.
As he puts it, “We’re naturally social and empathetic creatures and that must translate into the workplace. It’s probably one of the most important environments to actually be human, considering we spend most of our lives in this space and with other people.”
Kelly continues, “As a leader, I try to be human – which means meeting people where they are, considering an issue from their perspective, taking a genuine interest in them, and understanding their ambitions, goals, and even what causes them anxiety or stress. Empathy is something you can’t fake. If you want to give off Good Boss Energy, you need to look in the mirror every morning and ask yourself, ‘Do I care about my team because I have to, or because I want to?’ The correct answer is because you want to – with that mindset, you can build truly outstanding teams.”
Principle Manager, Mid-Market Sales, Raleigh Dugal stated, “Being a good boss probably starts with entertaining the possibility that you might not be one. I’m leading a relatively large number of direct reports at any given time who are all going through their own individual stressors and celebrations, trials, successes, failures, and the appropriate emotions that accompany them.”
He continues, “Trying to be mindful of where people are coming from during any given engagement is crucial – maybe they had a tough day and aren’t ready to hear any feedback today, maybe they really just need to vent about stuff not even related to work. Or maybe they need a deep dive on a problem they’ve been trying to solve for weeks and you need to sideline less urgent items.”
Holly Park, Principal Manager of Customs Onboarding, says, “Of all the strategies I employ as a manager to release this potential, the one that comes up most often from former team members is my ability to ‘voluntell’ them for special assignments. Apparently, I have a way of volunteering my team members for a stretch project that feels both empowering and challenging. It is in that discomfort that my team members grow.”
She continues, “How do I go about matching team member potential to opportunity? I keep a very short list of skills and ambitions of my direct reports and even their direct reports. That way, when I hear of an opportunity, I can do that matching in my head. The key to this is to match someone to something that is novel but still leans into their skillset. Then, when you hand it to them, express your confidence in their abilities and why this is an opportunity for them. After that, continue to offer support. As a mentor told me ‘get good at delegating and not abdicating responsibility’.”
Looking out for opportunities for your employees to grow isn’t the same as handing them tasks on your to-do list you don’t want to do or don’t have time for – It’s about being thoughtful and intentional about identifying their areas needing improvement, and finding projects to help them grow and succeed in that area.
Paul Weston, Senior Director of Product for HubSpot’s Service Hub, believes authenticity is the key to being a good leader.
He says, “Don’t we all have imposter syndrome from time-to-time? I’m at my best when I’m just being myself, not over thinking or ‘acting’ like a leader. In that sense, authenticity is key. I think that people appreciate that realness, positivity, and reliability. Over time, this leads to trust and psychological safety as relationships grow.”
Weston adds, “My team knows that I’m always available to work through hard problems together, and willing to get my hands dirty. Even when work gets busy, I make room for async catch ups, quick Zoom calls, or a whiteboard session. This also helps me to stay plugged in and shows through actions how important the work actually is. The truth is that building great relationships takes time and a lot of behind the scenes hard work. Throughout it all, it’s important to lead with humility, clear expectations, and positive ‘we’ve got this’ energy.”
She puts it, “Being a ‘good boss’ has never been my goal. Instead, it results from a lot of self-work and my daily practice of giving myself grace. In battling my own perfectionism, I’ve heightened my self-awareness around my own humanness. I am allowed to make mistakes. Bad days are never ideal, but everyone has them. Learning curves are exciting because you’re developing new skills, but inevitably you will fail along the way.”
She continues, “The best thing I can do for my team is to be transparent and afford them the grace that I give to myself. My gut feeling is that if you ask your team to do their best, but provide a safe environment for people to be human, you will end up with a high-performing team. So far it’s worked for me.”
For Joseph, this includes starting each of her weekly team meetings with “Red light, green light”, as a wellness check. Green light means you are doing great and feeling motivated. Yellow light means, you’re close to your bandwidth and may need additional support, and red light means that (for whatever undisclosed reason) you can’t do your full workload that week. When a team member selects red light, the rest of the team bands together to split up the remaining workload.
Owner of McIvor Marketing, Heidi McIvor-Allen says, “I think Good Boss Energy is keeping your team excited and motivated even if you are stressed – always focus on the positive. Good Boss Energy is realizing that your team is like family and that we all have to work together to succeed.”
She adds, “Good Boss Energy is focusing on the whole wellbeing of your staff and making sure that they are invested in the company and the company’s successes. Good Boss Energy characteristic is being human. Being a place of psychological safety, giving praise so your team knows they are appreciated, putting in the work just like you expect from them (by example), and making sure they feel supported in their careers.”
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