Could You Be a Better Boss?

Every year Gallup polls show that roughly 50%-60% of all employed Americans are completely satisfied with their bosses. These same polls show that just 30% of all employees are actively engaged at work. Managers, you have a job to do! But first, a little self-evaluation.

As the boss, you know there are a lot of things you can’t change about the work that needs to be done — demanding customers, tight schedules, evolving projects, etc. And you absolutely can’t please everyone all of the time. But it’s a fact that unengaged workers don’t produce. It’s also a fact that competition for great employees is tight, and usually when an employee leaves a company, it’s because of his or her manager.

What are the traits of a good manager? The qualities of a bad boss? Are you making some mistakes that could drive employees away?

Business Success -  Plan is ApprovedDo you communicate well and regularly? Employees want clear directions. They need to know what’s going on and what’s expected of them. Without this, employees don’t understand individual, team or company goals. They lack direction and won’t get to experience success (since they don’t know what it looks like).

Do you make decisions promptly? Get input. Consider options and assess. Then, make a decision.

Do you micromanage? Trust the employees you’ve chosen. Give employees some freedom to solve problems and make choices. Without this ability, you’re the bottleneck that slows progress and eventually your team becomes unable to make decisions independently.

Do you walk the walk? If work hours are from 8:30 to 5, be there. Your team needs to see your commitment and willingness to get in the trenches. And do get in the trenches to experience things from your employees’ perspective.

Do you play favorites? All employees should see fair treatment based on their work accomplishments. Your personality likes and dislikes shouldn’t be a factor.

Businessman Meditating at his deskDo you flaunt your success? Don’t put your extravagant vacation, your brand-new car, or your $300 shoes on display. Your team has a lot to do with your success, and if your earnings are significantly higher than theirs, displaying these splurges might cause resentment.

Do you make an effort to connect personally? Take time from your busy day to get to know your employees — both on a personal level and to find out how things are going on projects, answer questions, etc. Different generations of workers may require different approaches.

Are you negative? Do you allow negative behavior? Employees want bosses who take the high road, who don’t gossip. Set the example for the culture you want.

Do you show appreciation or recognition? Let employees know when they do something well — as often as possible.

Do you follow through? An employee delivers a completed project, an idea, a suggestion, and then nothing happens. Show respect and credibility by following up with the employee and following through as promised.

Do you listen well? Stop what you’re doing and really practice good listening techniques. Ask questions to help fully understand what your employees are saying. If the timing for the conversation is bad, suggest another time to talk.

Businesswoman shouting through bullhorn to colleagueDo you procrastinate? Progress takes good self-management and organization skills. Your procrastination can lead to tight deadlines, long days, and frustrated employees.

Do you train well? Spend time onboarding new employees and bringing existing employees up to speed on new procedures and projects. This will clear the way to better understanding and outcomes.

Do you give feedback? Constructive feedback is vital to employee growth.

Do you stand by your employees? Employees (and bosses) sometimes make mistakes. Support employees when it counts. Speak to them privately to correct or change any behavior that has come into question.

If you find yourself lacking in a couple areas, change your management style. Being the boss is a challenge. Being a GREAT boss takes consistent self-evaluation and fine-tuning. In the wake of an extended period of layoffs, trust is low among employees, and a manager’s job difficult. Employees just want the truth. Keep your team happier, make them more productive, and encourage them to stick around longer. Review and strengthen your management skills. You’ll attract great employees and, ultimately, make your job easier.

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