Sunday, December 5, 2010

The “Good Boss”

We’ve all shared the “worst boss” stories. There seems to be an unending supply. What, however, makes for the best boss? Everyone has a boss but not everyone is impressed with the way the job is done.

The standard by which an employer is held varies depending on who is making the judgment. There are some common traits to all the better bosses. They also share some basic attitudes and abilities. Additionally, effective managers utilize solid leadership skills. Keeping this in mind, here is a short list of skills, strategies and attributes of “The Good Boss”.

1) Not a just leader but a coach. A manager wears two general hats. One is the leader’s but the other is the coach’s hat. The coach teaches, encourages and, when appropriate, corrects employees. Employee development, as is personal development, is incredibly important. A “Good Boss” uses the unique perspective to develop and encourage the employees. Additionally, while the “Good Boss” will definitely point out and help correct employee mistakes, he will certainly admit when he’s made them too.

2) Don’t fear the reaper. We’ve all heard of the boss who would look perfectly comfortable wearing a cloak and carrying a sickle. So overbearing and over-reactive, their employees feel one mistake on the job is tantamount to death. Mistakes should not be career suicide. A truly effective leader will utilize the occasional blunder to effectively develop better performance on the job. Although it isn’t a matter of a teacher in front of a bunch of kids in high school, the “Good Boss” encourages learning from mistakes rather than generating an atmosphere of anxiety.

3) Keep everyone involved. The most successful managers help everyone feel like an equal and involved member of the team. Treating employees fairly is significantly more than just compensation. The “Good Boss” encourages feedback, innovation and creativity from each member of the team. This engenders a feeling of involvement and genuine ownership. Eventually, a cohesive team develops with sights set on the business’s long-term goals.

4) Movin’ on up! Employees are looking to their superiors to help them navigate the choppy waters of advancement. More than money, team members are genuinely interested in improving and creating meaningful careers. The “Good Boss” recognizes these aspirations and helps the employee work toward their own career driven aspirations. The “Good Boss” helps the employee develop in the areas that affect their career objectives.

5) Huston we have a problem. Although the businesses operating out of sheer altruism are few and far between, the bottom line should not be the primary philosophical or practical focus. Effective leaders recognize the importance of a business mission. The “Good Boss” establishes a clear mission that serves to motivate employees and give general direction. The team works better when the underlying motivation is bigger than money – keep them from feeling the wake-up, go to work, push button A, push button B, clock out, go home, rinse repeat feeling.

6) Old dogs do learn new tricks. The “Good Boss” should recognize that much of what makes a leader effective is learned behavior. Few are born with everything it takes to be the “Good Boss”. Many of the “Best” bosses got to be the “Good Boss” through attending management classes and seminars and reading books on effective leadership. The “Good Boss” is interested in developing and honing management skills. Remember the “Good Boss” attracts top-flight employees. Certainly, we all have innate traits on which we can lean that make us each the “Good Boss” but it is our responsibility to continue to develop becoming even better.

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