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10 Things Highly Likeable Bosses Do Differently

10 Things Highly Likeable Bosses Do Differently

Did you know that highly likable bosses are still a rare commodity? If you would like to be in that category, look at these sobering statistics for a moment.

According to one survey carried out by Accenture, 31% of workers leave because they do not like their boss. In the Gulf states, that number rises to 44%. That is almost half! Looks like an uphill task. Read on to discover what highly likable bosses do differently.

1. They cut meetings to a minimum.

Workers hate meetings and resent the amount of time spent on them. Intelligent managers know this and are aware that a whopping 37% of employee time is spent on meetings.  They prune meetings to a bare minimum and ensure that there is a time limit on them. Bosses chair the meetings to make sure this happens and adhere strictly to the agenda.

2. They are accessible.

Some bosses build a cordon round themselves. They have minions who slavishly keep people out. The message is that the bosses are busy and staff naturally feel that they cannot easily approach them with a problem.  It is a well established fact that employees work much better for a boss they like and respect.

Popular bosses welcome suggestions from staff and always have an open door policy, which they actually put into practice. They understand that the key to any successful business is a happy, motivated staff who are consulted and appreciated.

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“A leader is best when people barely know he exists, not so good when people obey and acclaim him, worse when they despise him. But of a good leader who talks little when his work is done, his aim fulfilled, they will say: We did it ourselves.” —Lao-Tzu

3. They are 100% reliable.

Reliability is a two-way process. It permeates a successful company. But the highly likeable bosses know that they have to deliver on the following:

  • decisions are followed through
  • tasks are completed on time
  • they are prepared and on the ball
  • they are punctual
  • they lead their teams with a mix of persuasion and firmness

“You do not lead by hitting people over the head—that’s assault, not leadership.” —Dwight Eisenhower

4. They delegate successfully.

The key to successful delegation is that bosses know what to let go, so that they can concentrate on top priorities. They also know that they can delegate the task to employees and show them that this is developing their skills and training. Employees see a delegated task as an opportunity for empowerment and a great chance to acquire new skills. They also realize how their work fits into the bigger picture. Highly likeable bosses can do this very skilfully.

“Delegating work works, provided the one delegating works, too.” —Robert Half

5. They are flexible.

Interesting research shows that where employees have flexible bosses, they suffer fewer health problems. It has a positive effect in less absenteeism too.

Employees need more flexibility when it comes to caring for sick children or parents. They should also be given the possibility of choosing their work schedule if it does not interfere with offering customer service or productivity.

6. They are optimistic and positive.

Successful managers exude confidence and optimism. They may do that instinctively but there are sound reasons for doing so. They know that optimism is infectious and can motivate employees to be more enthusiastic and focused. Keeping these thoughts to the forefront can produce better results and happier staff.

The research by Dr. Martin Seligman is very interesting in this regard. He says that everybody must make a real effort to look at the positive aspects and opportunities rather than moaning about all the obstacles. The managers who can inspire their staff to do just that will become successful and highly likeable.

“Positive thinking will let you do everything better than negative thinking will.” —Zig Ziglar

 7. They are friendly.

Highly likeable bosses take an interest in their staff. They are great at remembering important events in people’s lives and can celebrate with them.

They also know that negative forces such as dislike, resentment and bitterness can lead to poor performance and can be extremely contagious. This is why these wise bosses do everything they can to be friendly and create goodwill without giving up on objectives and deadlines.

“The boss depends on authority, the leader depends on goodwill.” —Anon

8. They are compassionate.

Many bosses try to be tough and want to show that they are still in control. If a person is always late, they will sack them on the spot.

But popular and compassionate bosses take a much more intelligent and humane approach. They first explain that unpunctuality is having a knock on negative effect on productivity, staff morale and relationships. They then ask the employee to implement changes and give them a deadline to improve. This creates less resentment and is a much better way of dealing with a difficult issue.

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9. They show appreciation and thanks.

When work is done well, intelligent bosses know that a short congratulatory email is the right way to express their appreciation. This encourages employees to do even better. It can also be used in their assessment and is a powerful motivational tool.

Showing gratitude pays handsome dividends. One survey by Glassdoor showed that 80% want to work harder when they are thanked for their achievements. That figure fell to 40% when the bosses were unpopular, demanding, and ungrateful.

10. They are charismatic.

It is difficult to define what charisma is, yet we know it when we see it. Highly likeable bosses are charismatic. They are self-confident, open and friendly. You can feel their presence in a room immediately. Their body language is as confident as they are. They have a real gift in listening to you and making you feel important. They are empathetic to a very high degree.

Now, if you are a highly likeable boss and meet all the above criteria, congratulations! If not, at least you now know what you need to work on.

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Featured photo credit: Annual Volunteer Appreciation Ceremony / USAG – Humphreys via Photo Pin

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Robert Locke

Author of Ziger the Tiger Stories, a health enthusiast specializing in relationships, life improvement and mental health.

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Last Updated on July 17, 2019

The Science of Setting Goals (And How It Affects Your Brain)

The Science of Setting Goals (And How It Affects Your Brain)

What happens in our heads when we set goals?

Apparently a lot more than you’d think.

Goal setting isn’t quite so simple as deciding on the things you’d like to accomplish and working towards them.

According to the research of psychologists, neurologists, and other scientists, setting a goal invests ourselves into the target as if we’d already accomplished it. That is, by setting something as a goal, however small or large, however near or far in the future, a part of our brain believes that desired outcome is an essential part of who we are – setting up the conditions that drive us to work towards the goals to fulfill the brain’s self-image.

Apparently, the brain cannot distinguish between things we want and things we have. Neurologically, then, our brains treat the failure to achieve our goal the same way as it treats the loss of a valued possession. And up until the moment, the goal is achieved, we have failed to achieve it, setting up a constant tension that the brain seeks to resolve.

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Ideally, this tension is resolved by driving us towards accomplishment. In many cases, though, the brain simply responds to the loss, causing us to feel fear, anxiety, even anguish, depending on the value of the as-yet-unattained goal.

Love, Loss, Dopamine, and Our Dreams

The brains functions are carried out by a stew of chemicals called neurotransmitters. You’ve probably heard of serotonin, which plays a key role in our emotional life – most of the effective anti-depressant medications on the market are serotonin reuptake inhibitors, meaning they regulate serotonin levels in the brain leading to more stable moods.

Somewhat less well-known is another neurotransmitter, dopamine. Among other things, dopamine acts as a motivator, creating a sensation of pleasure when the brain is stimulated by achievement. Dopamine is also involved in maintaining attention – some forms of ADHD are linked to irregular responses to dopamine.[1]

So dopamine plays a key role in keeping us focused on our goals and motivating us to attain them, rewarding our attention and achievement by elevating our mood. That is, we feel good when we work towards our goals.

Dopamine is related to wanting – to desire. The attainment of the object of our desire releases dopamine into our brains and we feel good. Conversely, the frustration of our desires starves us of dopamine, causing anxiety and fear.

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One of the greatest desires is romantic love – the long-lasting, “till death do us part” kind. It’s no surprise, then, that romantic love is sustained, at least in part, through the constant flow of dopamine released in the presence – real or imagined – of our true love. Loss of romantic love cuts off that supply of dopamine, which is why it feels like you’re dying – your brain responds by triggering all sorts of anxiety-related responses.

Herein lies obsession, as we go to ever-increasing lengths in search of that dopamine reward. Stalking specialists warn against any kind of contact with a stalker, positive or negative, because any response at all triggers that reward mechanism. If you let the phone ring 50 times and finally pick up on the 51st ring to tell your stalker off, your stalker gets his or her reward, and learns that all s/he has to do is wait for the phone to ring 51 times.

Romantic love isn’t the only kind of desire that can create this kind of dopamine addiction, though – as Captain Ahab (from Moby Dick) knew well, any suitably important goal can become an obsession once the mind has established ownership.

The Neurology of Ownership

Ownership turns out to be about a lot more than just legal rights. When we own something, we invest a part of ourselves into it – it becomes an extension of ourselves.

In a famous experiment at Cornell University, researchers gave students school logo coffee mugs, and then offered to trade them chocolate bars for the mugs. Very few were willing to make the trade, no matter how much they professed to like chocolate. Big deal, right? Maybe they just really liked those mugs![2]

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But when they reversed the experiment, handing out chocolate and then offering to trade mugs for the candy, they found that now, few students were all that interested in the mugs. Apparently the key thing about the mugs or the chocolate wasn’t whether students valued whatever they had in their possession, but simply that they had it in their possession.

This phenomenon is called the “endowment effect”. In a nutshell, the endowment effect occurs when we take ownership of an object (or idea, or person); in becoming “ours” it becomes integrated with our sense of identity, making us reluctant to part with it (losing it is seen as a loss, which triggers that dopamine shut-off I discussed above).

Interestingly, researchers have found that the endowment effect doesn’t require actual ownership or even possession to come into play. In fact, it’s enough to have a reasonable expectation of future possession for us to start thinking of something as a part of us – as jilted lovers, gambling losers, and 7-year olds denied a toy at the store have all experienced.

The Upshot for Goal-Setters

So what does all this mean for would-be achievers?

On one hand, it’s a warning against setting unreasonable goals. The bigger the potential for positive growth a goal has, the more anxiety and stress your brain is going to create around it’s non-achievement.

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It also suggests that the common wisdom to limit your goals to a small number of reasonable, attainable objectives is good advice. The more goals you have, the more ends your brain thinks it “owns” and therefore the more grief and fear the absence of those ends is going to cause you.

On a more positive note, the fact that the brain rewards our attentiveness by releasing dopamine means that our brain is working with us to direct us to achievement. Paying attention to your goals feels good, encouraging us to spend more time doing it. This may be why outcome visualization — a favorite technique of self-help gurus involving imagining yourself having completed your objectives — has such a poor track record in clinical studies. It effectively tricks our brain into rewarding us for achieving our goals even though we haven’t done it yet!

But ultimately, our brain wants us to achieve our goals, so that it’s a sense of who we are that can be fulfilled. And that’s pretty good news!

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Featured photo credit: Alexa Williams via unsplash.com

Reference

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