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10 Things Only People Who Have A Good Boss Would Understand

10 Things Only People Who Have A Good Boss Would Understand

The people we work with on a daily basis have a tremendous influence on our productivity and satisfaction. More than any other person, your boss shapes your daily experience. For example, your company may boost of family friendly policies but it is ultimately your boss who can approve your flexible schedule.

Our culture is filled with examples of bad bosses – Dilbert cartoons, Bill Lumbergh from the classic movie “Office Space” and the bluntly named 2011 film, “Horrible Bosses.” Our obsession with the effects of bad bosses means excellent managers and leaders truly have the chance to shine. If you have a great boss, you’ll be nodding and smiling as you read this article.

1. Communication is strong and positive

The quality and quantity of communication you have with a good boss is fundamental. A good boss knows how to run a meeting, communicates bad news in a professional manner and provides regular feedback to all staff. When you have a good boss, you are never left wondering about their plans or when the product is due for a launch. From time to time, the boss may have keep certain information confidential but good bosses seek to minimize secrets as much as possible.

2. Good bosses encourage people to grow their skills and leadership

The drive for learning, mastery and growth are important drives for knowledge workers. A good boss regularly looks for ways to help their staff grow with a variety of methods. They may ask their staff to undertake highly challenging work. A good boss may ask a junior person to present to senior management so they can develop their management skills.

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A good boss is never threatened by the growth and capabilities of their team. For example, George Washington’s first administration included John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, men who would go on to become President themselves. Managing a team of star performers is challenging but good bosses are up for the challenge.

3. Good bosses have low staff turnover

According to Gallup researchers, the performance and support provided by one’s immediate supervisor is the top predictor of staff turnover. Support includes providing staff with the right equipment to get the job done and advice on how to solve challenging problems. If you look around your department and see that most people stay in the department year after year, then you are probably blessed with a good boss. In contrast, a bad boss never takes responsibility for high staff turnover rates.

Keeping staff turnover low isn’t simply good for morale – it also saves money. Gallup reports: “It’s generally estimated that replacing an employee costs a business one-half to five times that employee’s annual salary.”

4. Good bosses are pro-change

A good loss takes an active role in shaping change. Rather than obsessively seeking to preserve the status quo, a good boss understands that change is a reality. They are optimistic about change and look for new opportunities to serve more customers, improve productivity and increase quality. After all, the business world is constantly changing so a good boss needs

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Good bosses embrace change by seeking input from their staff. For example, a good boss at a bank will look at a development like Apple Pay and look for ways to change. They may ask their software developers to improve the bank’s mobile app or ask their customer service team to study Apple’s product and come up with recommendations. In any case, good bosses embrace change and look for ways to grow.

Tip: Learn How to Lead Change in Your Organization: sooner or later, everyone has to develop the capacity to handle change.

5. You enjoy a gossip free workplace

Gossip eats away at teamwork, job satisfaction and productivity. That’s why good bosses do not tolerate this kind of behavior (in fact, you never hear them gossiping!). Instead, an effective manager encourages you to speak directly with the person and seek a solution. Otherwise, the problem or controversy that triggered the gossip will only get worse. Good bosses are proactive in preventing gossip because gossip is associated with workplace bullying according to the Kansas City Star.

Tip: How To Stop Negative Gossip In Office.

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6. Good bosses welcome questions

Making a success in the business world is tough. That’s why good bosses are open to questions from their staff. After all, if you are confused or unclear on how to complete work, the whole organization will suffer. Michael Hyatt, best selling author and former CEO of Thomas Nelson Publishers, offers suggestions for asking more powerful questions. Bringing excellent questions to the table marks you as a top performer.

7. Good bosses attract talented people

A good boss’s reputation spreads quickly. Of course, money matters in career decisions yet it is not the only motivation to consider. A good boss attracts outstanding job applicants. With so many negative or ineffective managers in the world, working for a good boss is a major attraction. You can observe this principle in action in large organizations where people are enthused about joining your department.

8. Good bosses handle problems professionally

Disappointments and problems are a reality in the modern workplace. A good boss resists the urge to scream and panic. Instead, they follow a problem solving strategy to respond to the situation. For example, if a supplier is late with a shipment, a good boss will ask for your opinion and help you to come up with new ideas. In contrast, a bad boss is likely to become irrational and angry in that situation.

Not sure what kind of boss you have? Think about the last few times you made mistakes at work – how did your boss react? If you encounter screaming and tremble in fear, it may be time to search for a new job.

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9. Cooperation is encouraged (not cut throat competition)

Some companies and departments are driven by fierce competition. People are so busy meeting deadlines and making sales quotas that they have no time to help others. Even worse, there are some organizations where competition is highly prized that people sabotage others. Good bosses promote and understand the value of cooperation. They lead creative brainstorming sessions and set goals for the entire team. By setting this cooperative tone, a good boss makes it easy to ask for help and support.

10. Staff are excited by the goals of the organization

Google’s mission statement is “to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.” That’s an exciting mission! When your boss provides clear and exciting goals, it is much easier to get through long days of struggle and frustration. Even if the top leadership of the organization has unexciting goals, a good boss can still create excitement by creating new goals.

Featured photo credit: Darth Grader/JD Hancock via flickr.com

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Bruce Harpham

Bruce Harpham is a Project Management Professional and Founder and CEO of Project Management Hacks.

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Last Updated on December 5, 2018

How to Lead a Team More Effectively and Be a True Leader at Work

How to Lead a Team More Effectively and Be a True Leader at Work

Being an efficient manager and a charismatic boss at the same time can seem like an impossible task. Is there a way to deliver the desired results for your business while remaining liked and respected by your staff?

We all know bad examples of team leaders who seem to fail at one aspect or the other, or even at both. But we’ve also heard of awesome managers who seem to juggle both things well enough.

How do they do it?

By sticking to few proven ways that let them maintain a positive karma score while remaining efficient. In this article, we’ll guide you through 11 smart management tips on how to lead a team and become something more than a boss – a leader.

1. Find a Management Strategy and Stick to It

There’s nothing worse than a boss that keeps changing his or her opinions and assignments depending on their mood or a book they read this week. Chaotic decisions increase the insecurity and frustration of your team, so you better find your strategy and stick to it.

If you do find some new methods you want your staff to follow, make sure they don’t contradict the general direction you are taking. Otherwise, you risk making your team take one step forward and two steps back.

2. Set Goals​ and Track Progress in Reaching Them

Set individual and collective goals​ for your team and track the progress in reaching them. This might sound obvious at first, but too often we find ourselves stuck between daily customer requests and monthly reports, and the bigger goal or vision seems to fade away.

According to Elon Musk (and many other successful CEOs around the Globe), it’s crucial to have a clear and motivating aim to where the company is heading. His aim for the space transportation company SpaceX is “to make humankind a multi-planetary species”.[1] That’s a huge goal but the company is slowly moving closer to it by reaching smaller steps and milestones, like launching self-landing rockets. This is also a very inspiring and meaningful goal that helps employees endure the company’s extremely high expectations and 60 to 70-hour work weeks.[2]

Even if your goals are not as grand, setting and reaching milestones will give you a clear insight into the team’s overall efficiency and daily progress. With time, you will be able to see the weak spots and improve your results.​

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3. Demand Learning from Your Team

CEO of print on demand startup Printful, Davis Siksnans, believes that:[3]

“The key for a company going through rapid growth is to empower your employees’ self-development.”

His company with 500 employees spanning two continents demands a culture of learning and provides all the tools necessary to do it.

Their idea is –  as the company scales, people have to grow in their positions too, which means that they have to be constantly learning. Siksnans says:

“We try to hire people for what they might become, but they need to have that drive.“

Alternatively, you can provide educational courses for your employees or invite informal lecturers to educate and inspire your team. You can also encourage peer-to-peer learning by asking employees to teach their particular experience or skill to co-workers.

4. Invest in a Pleasant Work Environment

Studies show that a well-designed office environment can increase your team’s overall performance by as much as 20%. You’ll be surprised to see that even very small interior tweaks that don’t require major investments can improve your workers’ performance.

Some ideas for a more productive and pleasing work environment:

  • Invest in modern furniture – offer ergonomic chairs, standing desks, and individually arranged workplaces​.
  • Start an in-house library – reading for pleasure just 30 minutes a day is proven to be enough to become more effective at work,[4] improve focus, and deal with problems like depression and anxiety.​
  • Play jazzy office music – rhythmic background music will help workers feel more energetic and enthusiastic while doing everyday tasks.​
  • Set up entertainment or break rooms – being able to relax and have fun at work creates a strong commitment, helps employees relax and clear their minds, and boosts productivity.​
  • Bring in uplifting office decor – it’s been found that art in the workplace can boost productivity,[5] lower stress, and even encourage employees to innovate.​
  • Decorate the office with live plants for freshness and a welcoming feel. Furthermore, plants are found to ensure better air quality and increase workers’ productivity by 15%.[6]

5. Be Kind and Sincere to Your Team

Did you know that 50% of employees quit because they dislike working with their manager?[7] In fact, most times when people leave their jobs they actually leave their managers. Being friendly and sincere may not be enough to be a successful manager, but it’s a big part of it.

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Some ways to show you appreciate and care for your staff:

  • Celebrate the progress and achievements of your employees. And don’t be shy to simply say thanks.​
  • Talk to your employees regularly and really listen to what they have to say. Address their concerns, help them reach their goals and do your best to improve their work and daily life.
  • If you’re having a bad day, don’t pour out your stress and anger on the staff. Instead, try to recharge yourself by appreciating the achievements of your team and setting the next goals.
  • Try not to overload your team with work. Every company has rush periods when it’s okay to have more work than usual. But remember that people cannot work under prolonged pressure and stress.
  • Don’t be selfish – it can be very demotivating to see that the manager only focuses on what you can do for him and doesn’t care about your goals and well-being.​ As the CEO of Xerox Anne M. Mulcahy put it,[8]

    “Employees who believe that management is concerned about them as a whole person — not just an employee — are more productive, more satisfied, more fulfilled.”

Whenever you are having doubts about your kind attitude, remember – satisfied employees are productive employees which lead to satisfied customers and eventually – success for your company.

6. Offer Flexible Work Hours

The traditional Monday to Friday, 9 to 5 job is beginning to slip away. Increasingly more people are working remotely or having flexible work hours, and we can expect this trend to continue. To adapt to these changing habits and remain competitive in the labor market, more employers are offering the chance to choose your own work hours, work from home or even from another city or country.

Offering flexible hours is a powerful way to inspire your existing staff and give them intrinsic motivation. Why not let your employees choose their preferred working hours while keeping the 8-hour day? For example, night owls are unhappy and unproductive if they have to come to work before 10 AM, while others might prefer to start at 7 and finish earlier.

You can go even farther and hire remote workers – this way you’ll be able to recruit from a global talent pool and even save money on office expenses like desks, stationery, electricity, etc.[9]

7. Track Your Team’s Productive Time

Not monitoring your employees’ progress and efficiency can result in poor performance and slacking. Instead of letting things go with the flow, you should consider installing time-tracking software on your employees’ computers and see who’s doing great and who might need a productivity boost.

But don’t get it wrong – there’s no need to become big brother and watch every step your employees take. If you use the time-tracker as a spying tool, you will only see increasing suspicion and insecurity around you, and your employees’ happiness levels will drop.

On the contrary, choose software that allows employees to mark private time that won’t be tracked. In addition, consider these time-management tactics:

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  • Allow flexible work hours. (see Tip No 6)
  • Encourage breaks – studies show that employees who take regular breaks are more productive than those who don’t.[10]
  • Enable remote work to show your employees that you trust them and that they can work from home or even from another country (if they can maintain sufficient productivity).
  • Consider offering bonuses to your most productive employees (those who show productivity levels above 90 or 95%).

8. Use Only Constructive Criticism

Constructive criticism means offering valid and rational opinions about the work of others, involving both positive comments and remarks about what should be improved. Constructive criticism is usually expressed in a friendly manner rather than an oppositional one.

When you evaluate your team’s work, give them feedback that’s helpful, specific, and sincere. Don’t be shy to praise, but also be direct and even strict when necessary.

9. Don’t Give Special Treatment to Yourself

The boss’s actions are – directly or indirectly – observed by your team. This means that your employees look up to you and often mimic your attitude towards your work and the company – especially if your actions don’t show commitment. Nobody wants to work for a leader who doesn’t go all in or inspire motivation.

What you should do is lead by example. If you expect your employees to arrive at work on time and work 8 hours, do the same yourself. If you want them to show initiative, show it yourself and encourage others to do the same.

Jeff Weiner is the CEO of LinkedIn – a company of 3,000 employees that consistently ranks as one of the best workplaces with a 92 percent employee-approval rating.[11] Weiner’s workdays are reported to be equally long or even longer than those of his employees, allowing him to stay “extremely credible as a leader.”

10. Empower Your Employees

Here’s a common mistake many managers make:

They don’t motivate their staff and assume they simply love to work for their company.​ Such belief can result in painful losses for the company – especially these days when many companies are in desperate need of a reliable workforce.

Instead of directly thinking about bonuses and perks, consider intrinsic motivation. For example, enable flat organization in your team and listen to your employees’ ideas when they come up with opinions and suggestions. Your company might actually benefit a great deal from the feedback, and the unique ideas employees come up with.

You can also start an initiative where employees can freely share or pitch their business ideas to you or the founders of the company. If the idea is accepted by the management, the project can be developed, and the employee can have equity options.

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If people feel they have an impact in the company, they become more motivated, engaged and interested in the company’s growth.

11. Nurture Your Company Culture

Company culture is the personality of a company that defines the overall work environment and relationships between teammates. It also includes company mission, values, ethics, and goals.

Some examples of company cultures are the Horizontal corporate culture (collaborative and equal; popular among startups and free-spirited businesses) and Conventional corporate culture (a more risk-averse and hierarchy-based approach common in traditional companies).

However, you don’t have to stick to pre-existing boxes when creating your corporate culture. You might think of your team as a family, a sports team, or even a hippie camp if it fits your business and purpose. But keep in mind that by the time a company’s size reaches 20 employees, the company culture is set,[12] and any changes will need to be implemented in smaller teams.

Whichever personality you choose for your company, make sure to live by it and nurture it. Some things that might help:

Team building events, relevant books in your office library and proper on-boarding for the new employees to get everyone on the same page from the very beginning.

Be a Leader, Not a Boss

Using the words of Printful’s CEO Davis Siksnans, the ultimate goal is to “Hire great people who don’t have to be managed.”

However, when you do need to demonstrate some initiative and control, act as a leader rather than as a boss.

In other words, don’t be afraid to show the personality behind your role. And keep these 11 tips close to your heart.

Featured photo credit: rawpixel via unsplash.com

Reference

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