What does it take to truly be a good boss? Thanks to research, we are beginning to understand the factors that lead to workplace cooperation.
A 2007 study by Florida University indicated that 40 percent of participants believed they worked for “bad bosses.” Among the most common complaints were broken promises, not giving credit, and strangely enough, the silent treatment.
Notice that there is no mention of overtime, paychecks, or incredibly annoying copy machines. The common thread in the above complaints is communication errors.
1. Care about your business
If you are not personally invested in your business, how will you convince others to be invested? You won’t always be excited about work, but there must be fuel to keep you going. If you are in an industry that doesn’t inspire you, you’ll have a hard time even caring about how to manage employees.
By working in an industry you love, you can keep current on best practices without it feeling like a chore. Your enthusiasm will likely rub off on others too.
2. Manage individuals, not numbers
If you’re in a managerial position, you probably didn’t stumble into it. Authoritative, action-oriented people tend to drift towards these positions naturally. If you harp about getting things done and the “bottom line,” just be careful.
Employees won’t always care about your objectives, but they will always care about how you treat them. So if you want productivity, don’t just dictate orders. If you want numbers to improve, think of how to position your employees to work better, not just harder.
The sooner you get out of that mechanical “numbers” mindset and into a relationship-oriented mindset, the better your business will be.
3. Adapt your style to each person
No matter how difficult it is, you should try to adapt your managing style for each employee- not only to appease them, but for your own peace of mind as well. It’s not easy to achieve understanding, but when it exists, everyone’s workday runs smoother.
Try to get a feel for how your employees thrive. Are they great under pressure? Do they work best alone? Once you understand these things, you can place them in a role that effectively utilizes their strengths. Team technology is a website with great tools to help workers understand their career and leadership styles.
4. Measure only what’s truly relevant
Sometimes it’s more important to maintain office morale than nitpick minor issues. If the company is doing well, don’t get bogged down by monitoring inconsequential details. This will stress your employees and give them the impression that their efforts aren’t good enough.
Instead, have the wisdom to distinguish what is crucial to the success of the business. Monitor these things, and if they begin to fail, that’s the time to get serious.
5. Set only one priority per person
By setting one priority per person, you can better monitor your objectives. Each employee will know what he or she is responsible for, and they’ll be able to focus their efforts solely in that area. Also, if someone isn’t working, the company’s weak link won’t be able to hide behind everyone else.
By singling out each worker’s priority, you are creating expertise within your company. Instead of 10 people with a bit of knowledge about everything, you’ll have a team of budding experts working towards distinct goals.
6. Stay even-tempered
Its an age-old question: do you want people to like you or do you want people to fear you? All leaders grapple with this, from teachers to CEOs. You don’t want to be angry and demanding, but you don’t want employees thinking you are a push-over. The best way to earn respect (and make your life easier) is to be as even-tempered as possible.
7. Share your thoughts and ideas
By being open with your employees, you show that you are down-to-earth. Sharing thoughts and ideas proves that you value your employees’ opinions and view them as equals. This is also crucial because it keeps everyone in the company on the same page, creating a general trajectory that everyone understands.
8. Take responsibility for your low performers
If you dig deep enough, poor performance will have a cause. You have to decide whether these employees are:
a. out of their element and need to be transferred to another position
b. in need of more training and instruction
c. letting personal issues get in the way of their job
While it may not be your fault, you must acknowledge low performers so they don’t drag the rest of the company down. Have a non-judgemental talk with the employee. Don’t blame and don’t assume. Instead, ask questions. Find out what they need in order to do a better job, and do your best to provide it. If they show no initiative, it’s your duty to terminate them and find someone who values your business.
9. Ask questions rather than provide answers
Socrates was a brilliant leader and thinker- not because he had answers, but because he asked questions. Asking questions can only provide you with a deeper understanding of a situation. A good manager doesn’t just direct, but also learns continuously from the company’s successes and failures.
10. Treat everyone as equally as possible
This is common sense, however it’s not always easy to implement. You may think that you are fair to all of your employees, but no one is without bias. Sometimes workers feel they are being treated unfairly, while the manager has no deliberate intention of doing so. Don’t get defensive in these situations. Step back and consider their perspective. Are they earning a lower wage, receiving fewer promotions, or somehow getting left out? Just because you didn’t mean for it to happen doesn’t mean it isn’t your responsibility to change it.
11. Expect only what you’re willing to give
We’ve all had that boss- the guy or girl who leaves at 2pm every day and vaguely hands the rest of the day’s tasks to confused and annoyed employees. You’ll never be a good boss with this behavior. It will convince employees that you’re incompetent and inconsiderate. If extra work is needed, be there to facilitate or at least support those involved. Being a boss doesn’t mean skipping out on the challenges.
12. Explain the reasoning behind your decisions
Employees will follow your lead with less resistance if they understand your reasoning. Even if they disagree, they will at least know that you’re using a strategy. You’ll be respected for keeping everyone informed. You’ll also feel more supported, as employees will better understand your reasoning.
13. Make decisions efficiently
Of course, one of the main requirements to be a good boss is refined decision-making skills. Avoid making decisions when you are under stress or experiencing unusual emotions. These can throw off your mindset and cause you to do things you otherwise wouldn’t. Make a habit of analyzing results from past decisions, and make changes if your choices haven’t been panning out.
Featured photo credit: guardiaoscura via guardiaoscura.com