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8 Bad Habits That You Don’t Know Are Making You A Terrible Boss

8 Bad Habits That You Don’t Know Are Making You A Terrible Boss

Do you ever get the feeling that everyone else at work hates you? Everyone hates their boss, right? Not so. If you perform your job correctly, your team members should feel comfortable around you–not feel like throwing you off the top of the office building. What are you doing wrong? Consider these bad habits that are making you a terrible boss.

1. You Don’t Communicate Well (But Expect Your Employees To)

You know darn well that you can’t read an employee’s mind. So why do you expect your team members to read yours? It’s frustrating for everyone when there’s little communication occurring. When you chew out employees for not communicating well but you’re just as guilty of it yourself, the work environment quickly becomes negative and stressful.

To start communicating better, consider these tips:

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  1. Set aside time for communicating. Spend at least 15 minutes per day engaging in informal conversation with employees to create a comfortable atmosphere. Consider having a weekly one-on-one meeting with individuals or groups to discuss concerns within the team.
  2. Make sure people understand your message. Before you begin speaking with your team members, evaluate your own abilities and prepare yourself to deliver the full message. Leave the floor open for questions in case you’ve been unclear.
  3. Recognize good work. If the only messages you send are negative, employees will start rolling their eyes and ignoring you. Create an environment where you’re heard by sharing positive messages, such as praising employees personally.
  4. Listen to your employees. Communicating well isn’t all about sharing your message. Make sure you listen to what other team members have to say, taking input seriously and taking action if necessary.

2. You Promote People Before They’re Ready

While offering promotions and incentives is a great way to create a positive environment, it can hurt your team if you promote people before they’re ready. This can lead to stressed out employees who can’t perform their job adequately, leaving everyone with a poor attitude.

Before giving out promotions, test your employees’ skills. You might arrange for an employee to cover for you so you can see how capable he or she is of taking on a larger role. Let them in on a few management decisions to see how they handle it. If an employee can’t handle these small tasks, they’re certainly not ready to take on a full-time promotion.

3. You Take Too Much Pride in Your Role

Being in a powerful position is often a great feeling, but letting it go to your head can quickly turn people against you. If you strut around the office like you’re king and expect your employees to bow at your feet and kiss your ring as you walk by, people are probably going to spit in your coffee. Just because you hold a higher position than others doesn’t mean you’re better than them.

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Let your employees know that their role is just as important as yours by praising their contributions, distributing the company’s wealth fairly, and creating an environment of equality with things like sharing a break room.

4. You Don’t Share Your Vision Enough

You may have the perfect road map drawn out in your mind about how the final project is supposed to look. But again, employees can’t read your mind. If you don’t tell them what you expect, how do they know what to deliver? Instead of simply saying, “Get to work,” make sure your employees know exactly how to get from point A to point B by sharing how you envision the final product. Apply this practice to anything from projects for clients to long-term team-building exercises.

5. You Think You Know Everything

Acting like a know-it-all is only going to annoy your employees. If you think you know everything about everything, they’re going to be afraid to share their ideas for fear that you’ll turn them away. Instead, allow your employees to voice their opinions, and make sure to approach the situation with an open mind. You never know what you might learn from others simply by accepting that they have knowledge that you don’t.

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6. You Don’t Give Your Employees Freedom

Some bosses set such strict rules that employees feel like they’re in the military. Stop acting so much like a drill sergeant, and start treating your employees like the adults they are. Studies show that employees who are given more freedom are happier, healthier, and more productive than those with a strict set of rules. Consider these ideas to allow more freedom without sacrificing employee productivity:

  1. Relinquish the 9–5 and let employees choose their own schedule.
  2. Set a certain amount of time for lunch, but let employees take it when they like.
  3. Implement a BYOD program to give employees flexibility with their mobile devices.
  4. Allow employees to listen to music while at work. It will boost their job satisfaction and productivity. [Source]
  5. Create a work-at-home option whereby employees can work remotely one day or more per week.
  6. Don’t harp on employees when they’re on their phone. Short Internet or texting breaks can actually make them more productive! [Source]

7. You Promote Competition

A little competition can be a good thing and motivate employees, but when you’re constantly pitting groups against each other, the competition can get fierce. This effectively creates a drama-filled, negative environment. Instead of promoting competition against other employees, motivate your team by praising work based on the individual, not how he or she compares to everyone else.

8. You Take All the Credit

Have you ever been praised for a project by a client or someone higher up only to say something like, “Thank you, Sir. I worked really hard on it.” Notice how there’s no mention of your team members? If you’re taking credit for all your delegated tasks, people won’t want to stick around on your team. Give credit where credit is due by speaking about your team or specific team members depending on who actually did the work.

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Being a great boss is a tough job. If you avoid these bad habits, becoming a boss people actually like will be much easier.

Liked this article? Let your friends in on this list of bad habits by tweeting it!

Featured photo credit: rogerimp via farm4.staticflickr.com

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Published on March 20, 2019

How to Write a Powerful Mission Statement for Your Business

How to Write a Powerful Mission Statement for Your Business

Have you ever felt lost in the minutia of your job?

As a business owner, I can relate to getting bogged down in the day to day operations of my business. Things like inventory, payroll, scheduling, purchasing and employee management take up the bulk of my day.

While these things are important and need to get done, focusing too much on the details can make you lose sight of the big picture. This is why having a good mission statement comes in handy.

What is a Mission Statement?

Put simply, a mission statement is an internal document that provides a clear purpose for the organization. It provides a common reference point for everyone in the organization to start from.

In other words, after reading your company’s mission statement, managers and employees should be able to answer the question “What are company’s main objectives?” For example, Southwest Airlines mission statement reads:[1]

“Southwest Airlines is dedication to the highest quality of Customer Service delivered with a sense of warmth, friendliness, individual pride, and Company Spirit. We are committed to provide our Employees a stable work environment with equal opportunity for learning and personal growth.”

In this single statement, Southwest conveys the company’s goals of providing the highest level of customer service as well as providing a good working environment for their employees.

Mission Statement VS. Vision Statement

While the mission and vision statements are related, there are subtle but distinct differences the you should be aware of.

First of all, a mission statement is designed primarily as an internal company document. It provides clarity and direction for managers and employees.

While there’s nothing wrong with sharing your company’s mission statement with the outside world, its intended audience is within the company.

While a mission statement provides a general framework for the organization, the vision statement is usually a more inspirational statement designed to motivate employees and inspire customers. Going back to Southwest Airlines, their vision statement reads:[2]

“To become the world’s most loved, most flown, and most profitable airline.”

This statement inspires good feeling from the customer while motivating the employees to achieve that vision.

What Does a Good Mission Statement Look Like?

When coming up with a mission statement, it’s important to take your time and do it right. Too often, people (especially entrepreneurs) just write down the first thing that comes to mind and they end up with worthless or (worse yet) a generic mission statement that is utterly useless.

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Remember, a mission statement should provide a common framework for everyone in your organization.

When writing a mission statement, you should always try to incorporate the following;

  • What we do?
  • How we do it?
  • Whom do we do it for?
  • What value are we bringing?

Now, you can see how tempting it is to just come up with something generic that ticks off those four boxes. Something like “We provide the best widgets available online for the consumer.”

After all, that did check off all the boxes:

What we do? Provide widgets.

How we do it? Online.

Who do we do it for? The consumer.

What value we bring? The best widgets.

The problem with this mission statement is that it could apply to any number of companies producing the same widget. There is nothing to distinguish your company or its widgets from any of your competitors widgets.

Compare that mission statement to this one:

“We provide the highest quality widgets directly to the consumer at an affordable price backed up with a 100% satisfaction guarantee. If our clients aren’t 100% satisfied, we’ll make it right.”

What’s the difference?

Both mission statements answer all the same questions of what, how, whom and value. But in the second statement, they are differentiating their company from all other competitors by answering the question “what makes us unique”.

Another way to read that is, “Why you should buy from us.” In this example, it’s because our widgets are of the highest quality and we stand behind them 100%.

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You might have noticed the statement didn’t say that we sell widgets at the lowest possible price. That’s because we are emphasizing quality and satisfaction over price.

A different company’s mission statement may emphasize selling widgets at the lowest possible price with little to no mention of a guarantee.

Hallmarks of a Good Mission Statement

1. Keep It Brief

Your mission statement should be no longer than three sentences. This is not your company’s magnum opus.

You should be able to distill the what, how, who and why questions into a succinct message.

2. Have a Purpose

A company’s missions statement should include the reason it even exists.

Make clear exactly what the company does with statements like “We strive to provide our customers with …….”

3. Include a “How”

Take this as an opportunity to differentiate your company from its competitors.

How do you provide a product or service that’s different or better than how your competitor provides it?

4. Talk About the Value You Bring to the Table

This is where you can really set yourself apart from the competition. This is the “why” customers should buy from you.

Do you offer the lowest prices? Fastest delivery? Exceptional customer service? Whatever it is that sets you apart and gives your particular products, services or company an advantage talk about it in the mission statement.

5. Make Sure It’s Plausible

It’s okay to shoot for the stars just to settle for the moon, but not in a mission statement.

Being overly ambitious will only set you and your employees up for failure, hurt morale and make you lose credibility. You will also scare away potential investors if they think that you are not being realistic in your mission statement.

6. Make It Unique and Distinctive

Imagine if someone who knew nothing about your business walked in and saw how it was operating, then they read your mission statement. Would they be able to recognize that mission statement was attached to that business? If not re-work it.

7. Think Long Term

A mission statement should be narrow enough so that it provides a common framework for the existing business, but open enough to allow for longer term goals. It should be able to grow as the business grows.

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8. Get Feedback

This is very important, especially from managers and employees.

Getting their input can clarify how they currently see the company and their role within the organization. It’s also a good way to get people “on-board,” as studies show that people are more likely to go along with an idea if they feel included in the decision making process beforehand.

9. Review Often and Revise as Necessary

You should review the missions statement often for two reasons.

First, as a reminder of what the essence of the company is. It’s easy to forget when you are in the day to day grind of the business.

And two, to make sure that the mission statement is still relevant. Things change, and not everything can be anticipated at the time a mission statement was written.

For example, if a mission statement was written before the advent of the internet, a company that use to sell things door to door now probably has a website that people order from. You should always update the mission statement to reflect these changes.

The Value of Mission Statements: Why Go Through All of These in the First Place?

It may seem like a lot of work just for a few sentences that describe a company, but the value of a well written mission statement should not be discounted.

First of all, if you are an entrepreneur, crystallizing the what, how, whom and value questions will keep you focused on the core business and its values.

If you are a manager or other employee, knowing the company’s basic tenants will help inform your interactions with both customers and colleagues alike.

Strategic Planning

A relevant mission statement acts as a framework for strategic planning. It provides guidance and parameters for making strategic decisions for the future of the company.

Measuring Performance

By having the company’s mission in a concrete form, it also allows for an objective measurement of how well the organization is meeting its stated goals at any one time.

Management can identify strengths and weaknesses in the organization based on the criteria set forth in the mission statement and make decisions accordingly.

Solidifying the Company’s Goals and Values for Employees

Part of a well run organization is nurturing happy and productive employees.

As humans, we all have an innate need for both purpose and to be part of something larger than ourselves. Providing employees with a clearly defined mission statement helps to define their role in the larger organization. Thus, fulfilling both of these needs.

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Now I’m not saying that a mission statement can overcome low pay and poor working conditions, but with everything else being equal, it can contribute to a happier and more productive workforce.

To Hold Management Accountable

By creating a mission statement, a company is publicly stating its highest values and goals for the world to see. By doing so, you are inviting both the public and your employees to to scrutinize how well the company lives up to its ideals.

So if you state that you only provide the highest quality products, and then offer something less, it’s fair for both the public and the employees to question, and even call for a change in management.

If management doesn’t take the mission statement seriously, no one else will either; and the legitimate authority that management rely’s on will be diminished.

To Serve as an Example

This is the opposite side of the coin from the previous statement. If the highest levels of management are seen taking the mission statement seriously and actively managing within the framework of the statement, that attitude filters down throughout the organization.

After all, a good employee knows what’s important to their boss and will take the steps necessary to curry favor with them.

Finally, use the company’s mission statement as a way to define roles within the company. You can do this by giving each division in the company a copy of the mission statement and challenge the head of each division to create a mission statement for their respective departments.

Their individual mission statements should focus on how each department fits in and ultimately contributes to the success of the company’s overall mission statement. This serves as both a clarifying and a team building exercise for all parts of the organization.

Final Thoughts

Developing a mission statement is too often just an after-thought, especially for entrepreneurs. We tend to prioritize things that we perceive will give us the biggest “bang for our buck.”

Somehow, taking the time and effort to sit down and think seriously about the what, whom, how and value of our business seems like a waste of time. After all, we got in the business to make money and become successful, isn’t that all we need to know?

That mindset will probably get you started okay, but if you find yourself having any success at all, you’ll find that there really is such a thing as growing pains.

By putting in the time and effort to create a mission statement, you are laying the groundwork that will give you a path to follow in your growth. And isn’t building long term success what we are really after?

More Resources About Achieving Business Success

Featured photo credit: Fab Lentz via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Southwest Airlines: About Page
[2] Fit Small Business: 10 Vision Statement Examples To Spark Your Imagination

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