Five Tips To Becoming A Better Boss
The worst boss I've ever had was a woman in her mid-20s who was named director of sales and marketing at a large hospital I worked for as a marketing coordinator. Previously, she had been successful for a few years as a hospital bed salesperson. However, it was quickly evident that she was over her head in managing a staff of 15 employees. After about nine months on the job, she was escorted out of the building by security, prompting one of my coworkers to chide, "Ding-dong, the witch is dead!"
It was obvious that this woman's success in sales didn't mean she was a natural for becoming a manager. The CEO who hired her overestimated her skills. If you're a business owner or a supervisor, you've probably thought about what type of boss you want to be. There are countless management-related books that claim to have the perfect formula for being a good supervisor or boss. I make no such claims with the following list. Instead, these are just five tidbits of information I've picked up over the years that I've seen work effectively when managing people.
1. Don't manage by fear. I've heard some supervisors justify this tactic by claiming that regularly threatening employees with negative consequences (e.g. dock your pay, fire you, etc.) is the only way to motivate a staff. It's not.
2. Take a genuine interest in learning about your employees. The more you actively interact with your employees, the more you'll understand what they need to motivate them and what they're struggling with.
3. Be clear and consistent with your directives. I once worked for a man who prided himself on giving short and cryptic directions for completing a job. He claimed by doing so he was helping teach the employees to think for themselves. In reality, all he did was lengthen the process to complete a task and frustrate himself and the staff because everything had to be done twice.
4. Don't ask employees to do anything you wouldn't do yourself. While working at an advertising agency, my boss instructed me to go to a retail client's location, and in front of a large crowd of customers, draw the name of the winner of a contest we had coordinated. He then informed me that no matter whose name was on the entry blank I drew, I was to announce that the winner was the wife of one of our other clients. I refused, announced the real winner's name, and resigned a few days later.
5. Act with urgency regarding good and bad performance issues. An employee's annual review shouldn't be the first time they find out about the areas you want them to improve upon or the great things you think they've been doing. Regular recognition of small achievements can go far in motivating an employee and making them feel appreciated. Similarly, immediately informing an employee of below-standard performance and working with them to develop a plan to improve lets them know that you care about their success with the company.