By Emma Hart
You’ve probably heard people say, “people don’t quit their job, they quit their bosses” and they’re not wrong. Poorly managed and executed leadership can make all the difference between an employee looking forward to going to work, or viewing their workplace as an undesirable place of doom. Poor management can have a really damaging effect on employee morale, motivation, and performance and can subsequently create an environment full of unhappy campers.
So what are the qualities, habits, and processes which make a truly great boss? And do natural born leaders have these characteristics ingrained in their DNA, or can these be developed through experience and learning over years of managing? We’ve asked 18 executives from a variety of companies to share their secrets.
If you want some super practical tips on how you can develop your leadership and be a great boss, check out our free eBook. Download our “How to Be a Super Boss” eBook to inspire the best in your employees.
1. Be Human
“A few things that helped me build a great relationship with my staff was to be genuine and transparent. Don’t lead people on, and be clear with your requests and demands. Just because you’re the boss, doesn’t mean you’re better in any way. Allow your people to help you become great. Stay grounded and keep your ego under control and help them become great as well. Encourage free thought and creativity. Listen to all suggestions and again, put your ego aside.”
We crave positive feedback for our effects and glow when they’re recognized. From a managerial perspective, financial rewards are a great way to appreciate efforts, but it’s more of a short term objective rather than coming from a warm fuzzy place of real authentic recognition. An effective approach when recognizing an employee’s hard work is to catch it in the moment. Be specific when you’re thanking them and always relate it back to the bigger picture. “Recognition is more effective when it’s given in the context of a business-results-focused activity”
— Meghan M. Biro, Forbes
“The key to being a great boss is acknowledging employees strengths, and not creating constant competition between employees. When staff members feel appreciated they will always produce great work. As a business owner, I demand my management to do weekly evaluations with staff. If your employees are not happy with work conditions you can expect your company to fail.”
— Michelle Hunter, Owner at SBH Media and Music
8. Create an Open Sharing Space
— Amy Medeiros, Marketing Manager at Broadband Search
It can be difficult to break out of the leader-follower mindset at the workplace, and research has found that “only rare, ‘transformational leaders’ are able to prevent employees from being excessively reliant on their bosses” (Drew Hendricks, Forbes). Cultivating staff that feels empowered and self-guided can be challenging.
The cornerstones in building a culture that allows empowerment comes from building trust and cultivating the executive mentality.
Chances are, most of your employees aren’t thinking at an executive level as they’re focused on their own tasks. Being transparent in helping them understand the bigger picture and goals you’re driving them toward empowers them to enter the executive mindset.
Monitoring their every move actually ends up impeding their ability to grow.
“I don’t micro-manage. I give my employees tasks and then trust them to carry them out. This empowers them. I will hold them accountable when needed, otherwise, if they are getting the work done, it’s fine with me.”
— Amir Watynski, Owner at Watt Media
Not knowing your employees is like buying a piece of furniture from Ikea and throwing out the blueprint.
You need to understand how they work before putting the strategy together. Find out what makes them tick and what truly motivates them. Getting to know employees on both a professional and personal level will have a much more positive effect on your relationship.
“Make a point of meeting with each person one-on-one every week for an hour. Use that time to catch up on work matters, but also personal details. Ask about their soccer games and things that matter to staff members. Be sure to use it as a sharing and coaching time rather than a status check. These meetings can be valuable places to collaborate for better outcomes, and head off any problems before they arise. When the team is virtual, use Skype Facetime, or Jobvibe to build a sense of connection.”
— Jean Marrapodi, Chief Learning Architect at Applestar Productions
Gone are the days of the omniscient, omnipotent CEO who makes all significant decisions independently.
Rather, contemporary organizations that foster a supportive, collaborative culture and value the ideas that a diverse workforce can offer achieve greater levels of success and sustainability than their rivals.”
— Scott Sette, Partner at DHR International
Author Bio: Emma Hart
Emma coordinates and creates content for Search Party and Job Advisor’s marketing activities. Originally from the UK, Emma studied Marketing Management in Newcastle and has a real passion for researching new trends and discovering exciting developments to share with the world.
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