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The worst thing about being a bad boss is that you don’t realize it.
You think that your employees like you, enjoy working with and call you a good boss. Then, it suddenly turns out that conversations stop when you’re entering a room. And that you’re the only person that’s not invited to a party.
You start to wonder what your staff members think about you and you finally come to a conclusion that people dislike you only because you’re a manager. Who likes people that tell you what to do, right?
But what if I tell you that being a boss is a serious business and it’s not as easy as it is commonly believed?
Below tips will help you to enhance your leadership skills, but first, let's try to figure out what's the difference between being a boss and being a leader.
The difference between a boss and a leader
A good boss makes his men realize they have more ability than they think they have so that they consistently do better work than they thought they could.
Charles Erwin Wilson
While it might sound similar, a "boss" and a "leader" have slightly different meanings.
Being a boss means that you're in charge of a team or the whole organization. A boss is supposed to assign tasks, have control over employees and make crucial decisions.
Being a leader means being able to influence and aspire others, to make the best of them. It's a person that leads others by example, has a vision and stays committed to his goals.
Both descriptions sound like two sides of one coin, right? Unfortunately, not every boss is a leader, and not every leader is a boss.
The good thing is that if it happened that you're in a management position, it doesn't mean that you cannot be a leader. On the contrary; if you want to be a good boss, you should be a good leader.
Here are five tips that will help you to achieve that.
1. Build a bond of trust
Without trust we don’t truly collaborate; we merely coordinate or, at best, cooperate. It is trust that transforms a group of people into a team.
Stephen M.R. Covey
The most important part of being a boss is constant work on building a bond of trust in your team. There are several benefits of building trust: effective communication, employee engagement and better job performance.
How to build trust:
- Make sure that you’re always honest. Always tell the truth, even if the news is bad or it’s to your disadvantage. Be transparent!
- Be fair. It’s easy to judge people based on their actions, but sometimes it’s worth taking a closer look at their motives.
- Don’t gossip and don’t share anyone’s personal information. Don’t say bad things about employees that are absent.
- Show that you’re a team-player and others can rely on you. Give a good example, finish your work on time and don’t ask others to do the job you dislike.
- Be empathic. If you know that your employee is having a hard time, don’t be afraid to ask them if they’re alright or if they need any help.
2. Praise your employees
A person who feels appreciated will always do more than what is expected.
Recognition at the workplace cannot be underestimated. Just look at these statistics:
- 16 percent of employees left their previous job due to a lack of recognition,
- 35 percent of them claims that lack of recognition is the biggest hindrance to their productivity,
- 78 percent of US workers said that being recognized motivates them in their job.
It means that employee recognition is essential if you want to have a well motivated, efficient team. There are more benefits as well! For example, thanks to recognition your employees will be more loyal and satisfied, their individual productivity will increase and their retention will be lowered.
How to recognize your employees:
- Thank the person by name,
- specifically state for what are they being recognized,
- point out the value added to the team or organization by the action that they have taken,
- reward them with a gift (a dinner, ticket to a theater or a pay rise).
3. Inspire your employees
I never teach my pupils. I only attempt to provide the conditions in which they can learn.
Inspiration at work is about commitment and passion. If your employees love what they do, they will need only a little bit of help from your side to spread their wings.
How to inspire your employees:
- Tell them about your vision - people love to know that they are part of something important,
- tell about benefits behind your ideas, don’t speak only about “how” but tell them also “why”,
- praise them and encourage to develop,
- share your knowledge with them,
- acknowledge feedback!
#4. Let your employees to be themselves
Most people are other people. Their thoughts are someone else’s opinions, their lives a mimicry, their passions a quotation.
If you don’t accept your employees as they are, you cannot expect that they will feel comfortable in a workplace. If you want for your employees to be highly motivated, you cannot increase the division between home and work. You need to integrate them.
Let them be themselves:
- If there is no need to look smart, don’t try to implement dress code,
- encourage them to talk about their passions,
- trust them and let them decide how to achieve their goals,
- encourage them to take the ownership of their work,
- get familiar with the Fish! Philosophy and bring some joy to your workplace.
5. Value feedback
We all need good people who will give us feedback. That’s how we improve.
There are no perfect people as there are no perfect workers. That’s exactly why you should encourage an open, honest communication in your company. Don’t be afraid of it! Even if you hear something unpleasant, treat it as an opportunity to develop. Research shows that people who are better at handling negative feedback tend to be more successful!
How to encourage employees to give feedback:
- Ask them questions. “What would you change if you were me,” “what do you like or dislike in your job” or “is there anything you’d like to change in our team” are good examples of such questions,
- if you don’t want to speak in person, you can ask your employees to fill a survey (it can be anonymous),
- tell them honestly that if there is any feedback they would like to share with you, you’re happy to hear it.
How to be a good boss
Being a boss is a tough job, because there is no formula on how to do this right and there are no pre-defined qualities of a good boss.
Do you know that 75% of people leaving jobs, in fact, don’t quit their jobs, but they quit their bosses?
It’s true that some people are natural born leaders who intuitively know how to make the best of each employee, but most of us need to learn it.
It’s a bit like playing with a shape-sorting cube. Every employee has their unique shape and a good boss needs to be able to find a suitable role for each of their employees and match them with the cube.
Luckily, with a bit of patience and perseverance, you will be able to shape this wild variety of personalities into a well-working team.
Photo credits: NBC/Netflix and via courtesy of The Office-ism.