‘Undercover Boss’ Moves: 7 Career Secrets Your Supervisor Won’t Tell You

Tips on how to follow in their footsteps

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Oftentimes employees view their bosses as superior individuals who have all the answers. Sometimes they come off as being flawless while being equipped with incredible power and authority. However, in many instances these bosses are working “undercover” because they aren’t letting you in on their real career secrets.

One show I’ve been watching to gain real-world leadership principles is the popular CBS show Undercover Boss. The format of the show is very engaging. Some of the country’s top CEOs and executives leave their A-suites for a week to go behind the scenes of their companies. They assume various entry-level and front-line positions to gain a deeper understanding of a typical day’s operations in the field.  From these encounters they’re able to learn the strengths and weaknesses of their companies from a bottom-up, as opposed to top-down approach.

At the end of the show the boss flies some of the entry-level workers they’ve worked with in to the headquarter office only to unveil their secret: They were working as an undercover boss! And of course, workers are tremendously surprised by this amazing secret. But after the boss shares their true identity, they always empower the respective employee with gifts such as free vacations, money, or an on-the-spot dream promotion.

So after being tuned into the segments with my eyes glued to the television, I’ve learned one thing: Bosses have career secrets that they rarely tell! Here’s my empowerment gift to you: seven career secrets that your boss probably never told you:

They’ve made some career mistakes.

They have weaknesses and are sometimes afraid to step outside of their comfort zone.

They only attained their job based on association instead of their achievements and qualifications.

They have a boss too! They have performance goals and sometimes feel pressured to achieve them.

They take credit for the good work you do (so if you make them look good, you will be one of their favorite employees.)

They aren’t happy about their current position because it’s not their passion. However, they’re doing the job as a strategic career move that will somehow enhance their career.

They’re positioning themselves for their next career move and constantly looking for different career enhancing opportunities, such as a better job or career placement.

It’s important for you to understand that bosses are human and they often experience some of the same career issues as you. Having said this, you don’t have to be perfect to be a great leader or boss. But you must understand that great leadership is a journey, not a destination. You have to continue to evolve no matter which job title you currently have because you will encounter challenges and difficult times throughout your entire career. As Kat Cole, president of Cinnabon, who is one of the young executives to appear on Undercover Boss, simply stated, “You have to make it happen…figure it out…and be as hungry as you say you are.”

Feel free to chat with your boss and ask them questions about their career path and progression. Let us all know any career secrets that you’ve gleaned from your boss that will empower your fellow BE readers! Comment below.

Antoine Moss, Ph.D., (@2PositiveTweets) is a nationally recognized resource on internships, early career achievement, leadership and motivation. CEO and founder of CEO Style Consulting L.L.C., Moss empowers professionals and organizations to reach their full potential, and serves as speaker, workshop instructor and consultant. The author of Learn to Intern CEO Style, Moss has been a featured expert on outlets including Fox 8 TV News and George Fraser’s 2011 Power Networking Conference.

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