“Work hard and be nice.” People often respond with this trope when asked what it takes to get their employees to like them. Unfortunately, these five words are easier said than done. There are plenty of ways to define what being a good boss entails. For instance, a good boss is someone who leads by example. In addition to being effective leaders, they are also good coaches who encourage their employees. They are also honest and work tirelessly for the betterment of their business.
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But workplace dynamics are changing with time, and so are such definitions.
Back in the 70s, a good boss was someone who exhibited an authoritative leadership style. Such a boss would dictate all the work which was to be dutifully done by his subordinates. The 90s were marked by several management changes, including a shift from the vertical hierarchy to a more horizontal organisational structure. The 90s Boss was comparatively friendlier, but he still wielded all the power within his team or organisation.
Now, two decades later, we have entered the age of flat organisations. Employees are now expected to be treated well and guided appropriately to be able to deliver their best to the organisation. If you’re a boss in the 21st century, there are a few things you should do if you want to be accepted and appreciated by your employees. We’ll list these below:
Be close with them (but not too close)
While your work force may not be your family, you can still be friendly with them. Befriend your employees and develop a work culture based on these relationships. But, there is also a negative side to this. For instance, let’s say you were to let go of one of your employees due to poor performance. This would become all the more difficult to do so if you shared a close relationship with them.
Constructive feedback can change many things for the better. Unfortunately, many bosses tend to snap when they receive feedback even from their best employees. Here is how take criticism in good spirit
Apologise for your mistakes
Publicly accepting your mistakes is a sign of empathy, virtue and responsibility. However, ensure that you don’t apologise so much so that you are not taken seriously by your team.
There are no born leaders anymore. Understand what traits make a great leader and keep educating yourself. For example, you could join a mentorship program, where you have a chance to interact with leaders from different organisations. You could also be part of one-to-one counselling sessions to discuss and overcome your current limitations. These sessions can prove to be helpful in personal leadership building skills that will ultimately reflect in your work.
Lead by example
Your team will often look up to you for inspiration and guidance whenever they need it. And, if you lead by example, say, in terms of answering customer queries yourself, the rest of your staff will follow your footsteps. Make it a routine to educate them and address their work on a daily basis.
Set milestones and goals for your team members every month. Make it a point to publicly announce the achievements of a team member or an entire team. A pat on the back or an office lunch may be a small gesture, but it is one that can make them feel truly appreciated.
Don’t micromanage, empower
Assign tasks to your employees and learn to trust them with responsibility. Do intervene, but only when you are asked to help or when you see something going really wrong. In such cases, it is important to try to guide your employees in the right direction instead of doing their work for them.
Everyone loves a good gift! So give away perks! What’s more, employees tend to work harder on receiving perks. In case you already take them out for free lunches and Beer Fridays, give them a little something more they feel would be helpful to them. For instance, let’s say your employee closes a big deal for your company. To show your gratitude, you could gift them a new smartphone or offer them a higher commission from the profit earned. Such actions promote a sense of loyalty and attachment.
Understand that every employee is unique
Every employee is unique in terms of their behaviour, their style of working and the values with which they work. It’s important to embrace these differences and devise ways to deal with them and keep your workers happy.
Accommodating different requests from all your employees can be a tricky affair. So how do you decide what's fair? Try using the ‘reasonable person test’. Every time you decide to make an accommodation for an employee that is special in any way, ask yourself, “would a reasonable person agree with me when I tell them that this is the right thing to do?” Another way to think about it is to ask yourself if you would be comfortable telling everyone on your team about this special accommodation.
Being a good boss is hard work. Your life is a daily bowl of trade-offs and challenges. But it can also be the most rewarding work in the world. Do you know any tips for good bosses to become great? Share them with us in the comment section below.
(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of YourStory.)