The Recruiting News
How to Be a Good Boss
(August 3, 2011) Be a good boss by being someone your employees appreciate.
You're the boss. But it's no fun (and very difficult) being a boss who is not respected, ineffective at managing staff, or is even actively disliked. How do you get your staff to be the best thing that ever happened to you? By being the best boss that ever happened to them. This article is intended to be helpful in a smaller, more casual setting. Although the tips could be helpful to a person in a larger, more formal executive setting, some would not be appropriate in those settings - see How to Be A Good Manager for advice in a more formal setting. But if you're someone who is pretty much the ultimate authority in his or her company or store (a small business owner or a general manager (GM) for a retail store, for example) here's how to be a good boss.
2 Delegate responsibility and then trust your people. Micro-managers are never appreciated and shows disrespect toward the team member. Once you've trained someone to handle a task, allow him or her to handle it without interference. Different people have different approaches, and someone else's way of doing something may be just as efficient as the way you would do it. Before you step in and force your way on anyone, give an honest evaluation to the method, and if you find it works just as well, even if it's different from yours, let it be. Constantly correcting your people undercuts their confidence and does not allow them to exercise their own style.
3 Know your employees to know your strength. Watch your staff, get to know them as individuals. Understand their motives: Whatever that is, do your best to understand. That allows you to enhance, adjust and align their motives with your goals. The cream always rises to the top, and it's your job to figure out which employees do what is required in their jobs, and which employees do all they can in their jobs. There is a huge distinction.
4 Most bad bosses are under the (mistaken) impression that there is something threatening about this, because the bad boss thinks that s/he is the only one who can perform a given function. The truth is, the best boss trusts his or her staff that can be utterly relied upon
5 Empower your staff to Make Decisions, and don't second-guess them. If you've done a good job of training your people to be your proxies, then you must believe they are doing their best to act in your (and your company's) best interest. Even if they make a wrong decision, or handle a situation in a way you would not have, don't second guess or berate them. Instead, use it as yet another training opportunity. Hear out their reasons for their action - most of the time, when taken in context, there was a logical basis for what they decided to do.
6 Help them learn to work out issues without your intervention. Sometimes one or more of your staff may experience friction with others. If they come tattling on one another to you, Listen to them carefully. If someone is not fulfilling his own responsibilities or is mistreating another employee, you'll need to step in and Resolve a Conflict at Work. But if you're satisfied it's only an issue of competition or a simple personality clash, urge them to settle it between themselves. Talk to the other person, and upon verifying that it's a personality issue, simply let them both know that they aren't required to be friends, only to get along and get their work finished. Tell them both you believe in their abilities to work and get along. Then leave them alone, but watch carefully. Don't interfere unless they bicker in front of customers. Put a stop to anything like that instantly.
7 Deal with any problems quickly and directly. Any boss who is terribly busy totally understands this concept: "I don't need all the details. Bottom line it for me." You don't have to be so blunt that you crush people, and Be Honest Without Being Harsh is a big time saver, and frankly, appreciated in the end. When you see a problem, deal with it quickly and don't nag your people about it later - let done be done. Try to elicit the agreement that whatever just happened was not acceptable. Remember that your goal is to promote productive behavior and retain the respect of your employee, NOT to antagonize your people, particularly in front of others.
8 Tell your staff how much you appreciate them - in front of customers if possible. Never hesitate to pat your employees on the back, Compliment staff and thank them for their excellent service - if customers are there, letting them know how you value your people can go a long way toward the customers actually having more faith in the services your business provides. When your staff feel valued and appreciated, their job means more to them than simply a paycheck. When your customers know that you, as the manager think highly of your staff, they feel confident that they're in good hands, and it gives you more freedom to leave your customers in the very capable hands of your staff. See how this becomes a "win-win-win"? By lifting up your employee while your customer was watching, ALL of you got something good from it - with zero downside.
9 Show your appreciation by doing things for them. They go the extra mile for you. You do something nice for them.
10 Learn to be an effective listener. Your employees deserve to be heard when they have concerns. Allow them to finish talking before you speak; do not assume that you know what they are going to tell you before they finish talking; do not form objections in your mind while they are talking. Instead try to be fully engaged while they are talking without making it about your rebuttal. Acknowledge their points, which does not mean that you agree, but does mean that you understand their concerns. Repeat their points in your own words to confirm, if necessary. You may not need to take any action, but hearing them out is important to their sense of empowerment and significance. Often, simply saying, "I appreciate your telling me this" is all that's needed to make them feel they were heard.
11 Always say thank to them for what they do at work.
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