As we’re integrating two mega agencies into a new company called VML, folks have lots of questions. How will this change impact me? What’s my new job? And most importantly, who’s going to be my new boss? This is a great question because while our work may change, we’ll continue thriving as long as we work for someone who supports and inspires us. Does your boss do these 3 things?

1. They grant you independence

handcuffs on desk lack independence

No handcuffs on your desk! You are given a healthy amount of freedom to do your work. And equally importantly, you’re clear on the degrees of freedom. We can survive in lots of suboptimal environments because we’re smart and tough, but I think we deserve to thrive! That means getting clear on these key points:

  • When do you need to inform or escalate?
  • What are key milestones to check in?
  • How much budget are you empowered to spend?
  • Which meetings will your boss want to sit in on?

If your boss is willing to align on the what, you will be empowered to own the how.

2. Your boss invests in your development

water plants to grow

Lots of water, sunlight and fresh air! Your boss proactively asks how you’d like to grow and develop. They provide opportunities for growth and learning, demonstrating personal interest in helping you develop your craft.

  • Are they checking on your hours, honing in on hours spent? 👎
  • Do they invest an unhealthy amount of energy on ensuring and tracking time in office? 👎
  • Or do they ask what you where you’d like to be in 3 years? 👍
  • Will they invest in growth opportunities for you? 👍

3. Your leader prioritizes community

lego bricks community

We all want to feel like we’re part of something bigger than ourselves. And the same is true at work; we’ll be more committed and engaged in what we do, if we have a community where we feel cared for, respected, and trusted. Is this a priority for your boss?

  • Do they encourage people to jump in and lead when good ideas are raised?
  • Are they regularly recognizing culture leaders in the workplace, formally or informally?
  • Do they fund events, encouraging connection and personally showing up?

If your boss does these 3 things:

1) Grant a clear degree of independence, 2) Invest in your development, and 3) Prioritize community, I think you’re in a good place! However, if you find any of these lacking, I’d suggest respectfully raising the topic and serving up suggestions. If that still doesn’t work, perhaps you engage HR for advice on how to partner on creating a thriving workplace. Because we all want to work where we’re set up for success, and we can each own our part in creating that environment.

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Photo credits: almani water plants,