Published January 28, 2013
There’s more to being a good boss than just doing high-quality work. Bosses should be able to inspire their employees, create a productive and efficient workplace and encourage new thoughts and ideas. Unfortunately, this doesn’t always happen.
According to the 2012 Attraction and Retention Survey conducted by Mercer, nearly twice as many organizations are reporting reduced levels of employee engagement compared today compared to two years ago (24% versus 13%, respectively). Most of the blame for this waning engagement falls squarely on the shoulders of bosses.
Let’s face it, most people get promoted into management roles because they were good at their job, not because they possess any real management potential. I often refer to this as the great American business tragedy. It is a tragedy because we reward workplace success by putting people in a position they don’t necessarily want and often aren’t well suited for the added responsibilities. Not everyone wants to be the boss, but in most companies upward mobility means taking on people responsibility. To make matters worse, many companies don’t spend the time or money to provide the requisite training for new bosses to actually succeed in their new role. In other words, we reward success by setting people up for failure, creating a lose-lose proposition.
One way to avoid falling into the “bad boss” trap this year is to take responsibility into your own hands. Regardless of how successful you are as a boss, you can always do better. Here are three tips to get any boss off to the right start in 2013.
Look in the Mirror. You have to know yourself before you can effectively manage others. The way you manage is a reflection of your personality, culture and upbringing. Take the time to think about how your life journey has shaped the way you manage and make decisions and consider the following:
Listen First, Shoot Questions Later. Good bosses are good listeners. Learn how to actively listen to those who get the job done because they are your experts and they need to know you hear them.
Encourage More, Punish Less. Anyone who has taken Psychology 101 knows that punishment stops bad behavior, but it doesn't produce new good behavior. Learn to reinforce the good and please remember not everything is about money. In fact, it's rarely about money. People just want their good work recognized. Consider the following:
Whether you are a line supervisor, middle manager, or executive, as the boss you are responsible for setting the tone and creating a positive and productive work environment. When bosses fail to do this, turnover increases, morale drops, and hiring expenses skyrocket.