How to be a Great Boss!

Many people are thrust into the position of managing others with out formal training in the business world.  People achieve a higher role because they have added value to an organization by either being extremely good at their particular discipline, or have shown exemplary dedication to the company.  The company (or individual) wants to reward that person so, poof!…… you’re a manager!.

The Problem:

Seldom are these people trained and disciplined at the art of management, which results in haphazard “On the Job Training”.  OJT can be costly for all parties involved.  Some of the time this happens to a person that is a “natural” and is good enough at balancing relationships with productivity.  More often than not, these newly appointed “Managers” have no formal training at developing their interpersonal skills, nor even understand the importance of getting people to like their job.  Too often have I heard “ just do it ‘cause I said so”, “I’m the boss and I said so…”, or “joke” about disciplining someone if they don’t do the simplest thing.  Far too often the people that decide to promote don’t see, or don’t have the ability to assess their new manager in these regards, because they are busy with their own job.  The other extreme is having someone in that role that is overly sensitive and doesn’t want to upset anyone, so they do too little.  Both of these are common occurrences  in our business environment and how this change is handled can have a great effect on your businesses ability to generate revenue.

I suspect we can all relate to both of those examples.

So what makes a Great Boss?  Who should be the judge of who a great boss is?  What is the secret to being a Great Boss?  What do employees want in a Great Boss? Lastly, how do you be a great boss in a poor environment?

It comes down to 3 + 1

Every manager needs to spend dedicated time on developing these 3 area’s….

Management basics

Interpersonal Skills

Personal Competency

…….and they need to follow one common trait….

Consistency

10 basic Management rules to follow 

  • All of these rules speak to humans basic needs, and if you meet them while managing, you will find that those stubborn work-born problems seem to solve themselves through your people.
  1. You must show you understand what their job entails, without ever being asked
  2. Show them how to succeed, give them the tools they need
  3. Always train and develop everyone at all levels
  4. Lead, brand first.  Your actions need to be traceable to your company, brand, and business culture.
  5. Be unselfish and patient.  Serve others, not yourself.  Give credit and even if its your accomplishment, give the credit to the team anyways.  Your employees are your most important customers!
  6. Deal with problems immediately, or educate why it’s not a big deal to employee’s that think otherwise.
  7. Find them doing something RIGHT, and make a big deal of it.
  8. Your always “on Stage” someone is always watching you.  Many look up to you.  Everyone judges you.  Don’t make them want to turn the channel!
  9. Set clear expectations, always have a plan, don’t assume they know what you mean
  10. Hold everyone accountable, there are many great teaching moments everyday.

I have no doubt you have seen many or all of these before.  These are taught at many management symposiums.  They alone do not make you a Great Boss.  These will make you respected at your position by most people and likely bring some good results by your staff.

Interpersonal skills 

  • Often this take a large time investment to pay off (thus easy to skimp on) but is a necessary part of being a Great Boss!  This is about relationships, and if a manger has no interest in building relationships, then they will never be a “great boss”.  Older methodologies cite that “building a relationship” with employees is unnecessary or even wrong.  This outdated thinking has been replaced by newer abundance mentality leadership that focuses on the power of synergy (1+1=3). That said, clearly it needs to be an appropriate relationship.  I like to look at careers that rely on relationships for inspiration,  Ambassadors, Project Managers, Sports Coaches/Managers, to name a few.  They know enough about a person to figure out their drives, goals, and shortcomings.  If you, as their manager, find a way during their job to incorporate their drives with their job duties, help achieve their goals (even if goals are outside of work), and improve on their shortcomings, you build on their esteem and you have made an impression on them professionally.  This builds loyalty, which is a key to being a great boss.  It is difficult to discover these motivators without developing a certain relationship.

Personal competence 

  • Specifically with in your discipline.  Many times “the manager” is simply another hat that someone gets to wear.  If you have a role that you perform(separate from managing), you need to insure you maintain your competency with that discipline.  So often people get too caught up in other manager functions and it takes focus away from their specific role.  Your team will notice if you are slipping, if it affects them directly or not.  Many will focus more on what you are NOT doing with your role then what you are asking them to do in their role.  If they don’t respect the job you perform, chances are they will not consider you a Great Boss.

 

 Consistency is King

Studies have proven the importance of a manager being consistent.  Consistency in personal style, interpersonal skills, consistent expectations and consistent accountability.  When an employee is not sure what to expect it adds significantly to their stress levels and will compound throughout your staff.  This increased stress will manifest multiple ways through attendance, turnover, production, and loyalties.  When employee’s know what to expect, even if it is less than a “best practice” behavior, they can better deal with it and will be more productive overall.

A vast majority of the “People” related problems I help businesses with can be linked to Management inconsistencies.  This WILL greatly effect your ability to generate revenue.

 

How do you know if you’re a great boss?
What is your turnover?       Do employee’s recommend their friends to work their?      Whats the mood of the workplace?       What’s the profit line say?  High Employee engagement?       Do you have a formal Feedback system? Are employee’s asking your advice?       Do you insure that you and your team of Managers provide a consistent work climate?
Challenges –

It can be difficult to champion these traits in an angry, competitive environment, which may be inherited when you take your new role.  This may result from either the person who previously held your position, or your boss not having the same values as what I have listed here. Either way it may be the existing culture. Once you determine the root cause, this needs to be addressed.  If it is the prior manager’s creation, stay the course, follow what I outline here and employees will come around.

If you suspect it is your supervisor, or the company culture in general, then you need to share how this plan of yours will make your supervisor(s), your staff, and you more successful.  Share it with supervisors and subordinates alike.  Be strategic, but not shy, don’t forget that this may be why you were put in this role in the first place.  Also, you don’t need to be the highest ranking manager to initiate a change in culture.  To achieve this it is an investment or your time and efforts, not their capital.  If it increases productivity, decreases attrition, and has a positive effect on financials, how can supervisors argue?  If it makes your employee’s know your a GREAT BOSS, why would they argue?

It is worth it!

Being a great boss means getting the work done through others, consistently and fairly.  Creating an appropriate culture where the individuals can contribute to the company while growing at their own pace, meanwhile meeting(or exceeding) company expectations, makes you a Great Boss!  This means delivering excellence to your staff and inspiring the same from them.  Remember that “Excellence is an attitude”, it’s a choice, and a destination.  Being a great Boss is about excellence and a conscious effort to deliver it.  Great Bosses continually work at being Great Bosses.  Great Bosses create a legacy, a reputation that is attached to them for years to come.

Carpe diem!

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