LGL Labor Day: Be A Better Boss Challenge

It’s Labor Day in America, no better time for the LGL “Be A Better Boss Challenge.” Don’t worry, no ice buckets or donations necessary (although our porch was filled with buckets on Sunday).  I’m just advocating for a bit of focused effort on taking your relationship with your team (and with your boss) to the next level.

Of course, if you can’t imagine anything more fulfilling than dumping a bucket of icewater on the head of your boss, you best read on. If you think your team would love that opportunity, you better go all in and buy the book (for your team). Just saying 😉

Strained Boss Relationships are Everywhere

A few statistics from recent research.

Just like any other relationship, the best way to improve such relationships is to open the lines of communication. Even strong manager/employee relationships can be made stronger by taking the time to connect.

Who’s in the Best Position to Start the Conversation?

I recently shared the survey from my book with a group of about 50 managers representing a variety of organizations and industries in the public and private sectors. When I encouraged them to take the survey back and share it with their boss, my request was met with a universal chorus of shaking heads, uneasy laughter, and a resounding “no way.” On the other hand, when I asked them if they would be willing to use the survey with their own teams, they were much more receptive. It makes sense. It’s much easier if the person with the power is the one who initiates the, “Let’s make our relationship the best we can” conversation.

And so this Labor Day, I leave you with this Be a Better Boss Challenge. Have your team take the  Real Boss Survey (available free with this link) and then meet with them one-on-one to discuss how you can take your relationship to the next level.

Or, if you don’t like that game, use this week to do something specific to improve the relationship with at least one or two people on your team.

And of course, I encourage you to take the challenge to the next level and do something specific to enhance your relationship with your own boss as well.

For now, please share your stories and ideas of other specific ways you’ve worked to identify and improve your relationship with your team or with your boss in the comments below. Our community needs your insights.

Game on.

Another tool that can help is 8 Questions You Should Ask Your Boss.

Posted in Career & Learning, Communication and tagged , , .

Karin Hurt

Karin Hurt helps human-centered leaders resolve workplace ambiguity and chaos, so that they can drive innovation, productivity and revenue without burning out employees. She’s the founder and CEO of Let’s Grow Leaders, an international leadership development and training firm known for practical tools and leadership development programs that stick. She’s the award-winning author of four books including Courageous Cultures: How to Build Teams of Micro-Innovators, Problem Solvers, and Customer Advocates and Winning Well: A Manager's Guide to Getting Results-Without Losing Your Soul and a hosts the popular Asking For a Friend Vlog on LinkedIn. A former Verizon Wireless executive, Karin was named to Inc. Magazine’s list of great leadership speakers. Karin and her husband and business partner, David Dye, are committed to their philanthropic initiative, Winning Wells - building clean water wells for the people of Cambodia.


  1. Perfect post for Labor Day, Karin! Fascinating survey and one I would love to try out with some of my clients!

    I think the key to stronger boss relationships is developing a trust level where both the employee and the boss know what to expect from one another and showing gratitude for each other’s contributions. Also, it is so important for an employee to know that their boss is their best advocate and will support their actions.

    Thanks as always!

    • Good catch. Fixed it. Thanks. Steve, EXACTLY! That’s what is so disturbing and exactly why I’m raising the challenge.

  2. Fantastic, Karin! It’s a challenge for Labor Day and every day!

    Years ago, I sat down with my boss with whom I had strained relations and told him that i think we missed the mark with each other and needed a fresh start. One of the things we did was when one of us was doing “that thing” that pushed the other person’s buttons, we came up with a code that only the two of us knew to ask the other to back down and make another choice. Sounds silly but it meant we were on the same side and working towards shared success.

    • Alli, Terrific story. Thanks so much for sharing. Love the idea of a code word. Great example of how taking the initiative can help to improve the relationship.

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