Think about the best boss you ever had. What qualities did they possess that made them so good? Do you feel you have those same qualities as a leader, or would you like to improve yourself as a boss? Read on to see what you can do to earn the title of the best boss in the building.
- Accept and invite criticism. Your status as the boss doesn’t mean you can’t improve and have figured everything out perfectly. If you want your employees to continuously work on their weak points, you should do the same (and you probably do have a few). Create a system wherein employees can leave constructive feedback without fear of reprisal — the boss who asks for criticism but then responds negatively has essentially derailed the system. Then accept it professionally, demonstrating your commitment.
- Acknowledge your mistakes publicly. To that same end, if you do make an error, accept it and recognize it to those it affected. A good boss will admit to her mistakes rather than trying to sweep them under the carpet or pass the buck, and employees will appreciate that. In addition, the boss models good behavior for her employees. This also fosters a culture of honesty, empathy, and responsibility.
- Give employees free perks. Who doesn’t like free stuff? However, this goes beyond mugs and “Team Building Exercise ‘16” T-shirts. Give out something that makes a memory — free lunch Fridays, a once-a-month happy hour, the occasional raffle…get creative. These little gestures go a long way toward feeling appreciated.
- You don’t have to be the “cool” boss. A good boss can find that sometimes-elusive balance between authoritative and approachable. As the authority figure, you do need to distinguish yourself from your employees, but go beyond clothing and the key parking space. Your actions and will speak loudest, such as coming in early and staying past “quitting time” and showing genuine enthusiasm for the work. Avoid forcing friendly relationships; those will develop if they’re meant to.
- Take care with creating the workforce “family.” While you may get close with your employees, “family” brings with it certain unbreakable obligations that you don’t want to creep into the workplace. Enjoy shared moments and special jokes, but avoid hard-and-fast rules and an excess of company culture. Have a good relationship; but remind yourself that work is work.
- Find the right degree of visibility. Avoid making yourself a target by limiting your presence just enough to allow people to discover your good, tangible qualities but not enough to see your less-stellar ones. Be the bearer of good news when possible and take care with the tone of your interactions — that hilarious joke may not land well with everyone.
- Remember, everyone wants to feel needed. More specifically, ask for small impromptu favors that will be easy for someone to do (but that don’t make you appear petty) and that could ingratiate you to them in some small way. Asking someone to do you a favor that falls under the realm of their expertise is acceptable. Stress that it shouldn’t take long, so if it’s more difficult than expected, staffers will feel comfortable telling you so.
- Use the competition to alleviate tension. Do you hear dissention in the ranks or have low morale? Bring up a competitor to focus employees on coming together to outperform them. Hone in on an external deadline for a product launch or public appearance that will give employees something to work toward and do their best at. Give them a chance to “beat the bad guys” – then they’ll be the heroes.
Being a great boss requires a sometimes delicate balancing act, and the best ones manage it by taking these points into consideration. PrideStaff can give you solid advice on how to put these strategies into play.