Are You the Perfect Boss?

All employees want to have a happy and enjoyable relationship with their supervisor or manager.  But, sometimes they get the “boss from hell!”  How would your employees rate you?  Here a few ideas to help you assess your performance and help you become, the perfect boss.

Keep lines of communication open.  Accessibility is the name of the game.  Employees want to be able to speak to their supervisor in times of need and even sometimes just to build a strong relationship.  Managers have the obligation to make themselves accessible and not stifle the ability of employees to reach them.  Be willing to receive feedback on what employees see in their work environment and on issues that, if resolved quickly, will keep morale and trust in management high. Be easy to talk to and approachable by all.  Don’t assume a superior posture because you are in charge.  Be friendly and fun to be around.

Practice integrity in all you do.  If you have no word, you have nothing.  Be a man or women of honor at all times.  Demonstrate and live by high standards of behavior.  Everyone is watching you and how you behave will ultimately reflect how workers will behave.  It’s very important that you be the shining example.  This is probably one of the most important characteristics you can possess.

Be a straight shooter.  Tell employees what is going on regarding their performance and, whenever possible, what is going on in the company.  Don’t bend the truth, don’t set up roadblocks to accurate information and don’t purposely provide misleading information.  Your workers want to know they can rely on you for the straight scoop and what job responsibilities they need to improve to maintain their employment.

Be an encourager of creative thinking.  Too often, we tend to want employees to stay within the box and not wander into new directions.  Employees can be amazingly creative when encouraged to contribute.  Just because something is done a certain way does not make that method the only and best way to complete a task.  At least once a week, if not every day, you should be looking for some creative way to improve on the everyday tasks employees are charged to carry out.  Let them take some risks and you will be pleasantly surprised at how their suggestions can improve productivity and make a positive impact on the bottom line.

Be a positive thinker.  Your attitude can either poison the work atmosphere or bring the smell of roses to the work place.  “Stinking thinking” is unacceptable.  Yes, you can have a bad moment but having a bad day is like spreading poison.  Eventually this type of thinking will lower morale, trust, productivity and anything else that takes place within your work environment.  As you go, so do workers.  Be rock solid with your thought process and the shining example all want to emulate. It is especially important that you be balanced in your reaction to issues that surface in the work place.  Don’t be the overly excitable manager or one that loses it often.  Workers want positive role models, not volcanoes.

Choose good people.  That choice seems obvious but how often do we keep the underachiever or the non-contributing worker.  Set your standards at reasonable heights and hold everyone accountable to perform to those standards.  Surround yourself with competence; develop the talents of workers to maximize their contribution and everyone wins.  When you find someone that really fits, do everything you can to maximize their development and contribution.  Good people want to help and good managers let them.

 Teach your employees to understand the bottom line.  As part of the truth sharing process, one must include how the company is doing financially.  Again, employees are very creative and will, when given the opportunity, help improve the bottom line.  They have a vested interest to stay employed.  The more you can share about what brings costs up, the easier it will be to bring costs down.  When employees have a firm grasp on cash flow issues, it is almost impossible for a company to fail.  (I’m assuming you have a good product or service to offer.)

Provide positive strokes for positive folks.  Outstanding performance demands outstanding feedback.  Let people know when they are doing a good job.  Reward the best.  Everyone has strong needs to be appreciated and to feel a sense of importance.  Positive strokes surface those feelings.

 Demonstrate empathy for everyone.  Recognize that you must place yourself in the other person’s shoes when making your decisions.  Strive to fully understand and appreciate the ramifications of your decisions and how they impact workers.  Use a 360-degree view so no side of a decision is overlooked.  When you’ve analyzed all possibilities and you successfully communicate that fact to workers, there is little you can do that will be totally unacceptable to them.  Even reductions in force are more acceptable when the proper empathetic mindset is used.

Coach.  Strong coaching ability is a necessary set of skills all managers should strive to possess.  A good coach recognizes talents, understands the game rules, has a course of action that counters obstacles and knows what activities to undertake to win the game.  Simply stated, good coaches win more than they lose.  The work environment is much like the playing field in an athletic contest.  Use this game time mentality to plan your day-to-day actions and outscore your competition.

 Your Action Steps

 Take this article to your employees and ask them to rate you on a scale of 1-10 for each point.  Do it anonymously so the pressure is off.  Be warned, it takes a courageous manager to do this.  But, if you are bold enough to accept the results you will take a serious step towards becoming the perfect boss.  Use the common school grading system to rate your performance:  A = 100-94; B = 93-88; C = 87-78, D = 78-66 and 65-0 scores an F.  Resolve to take every issue that surfaces and seek improvement when necessary.

Good luck.  I hope all of you are promoted, not retained!

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