Being a boss is more complicated than you may think. You may assume that nothing really matters other than producing good figures at the end of each quarter – but the truth is that those figures are a whole lot harder to produce if your staff is unhappy. Here are some tips on how to be a great boss who gets the most out of their employees.
Learn How To Communicate Effectively
First of all, you need to learn how to communicate effectively. Far too many bosses’ relationships with their employees have been ruined because they were too abrupt with them or they tried too hard to be the ‘cool’ boss and treat them in a casual friendly way instead of maintaining those boundaries. But communication is key when it comes to getting along with your employees and helping them produce their best work. You may think that if you make an impressive speech to the office every day, your work is done – but the truth is that communication is about far more than just the words you use. Remember to focus on your tone of voice and body language too: speak thoughtfully and choose your words with care, and remember not to speak too quickly – this will make you seem uncertain. Keep your body language open – don’t fold your arms when an employee is talking to you, and don’t lean back in your chair when you’re talking to someone in your office. Lean forwards, maintain eye contact, and make sure that your posture is open.
Help Your Employees Progress
A very important thing about working with people is that you need to identify who wants to progress in the company and who is content with the role that they already have. Remember that a lot of the best people don’t necessarily want to go further – maybe they know they excel at the job they have, they enjoy it, and they don’t want any extra pressure of starting something new. Additionally, people have lives outside of work that they may want to focus on. So although you should cultivate these people and help them create smaller goals for themselves, you also need to consider the people who are more ambitious. If they’re good, you want to create opportunities for them within the company so that they don’t get poached by anyone else. You can do this by offering to help subsidise management and finance programs like the ones at New England College so that people can learn new skills and bring them back to your company. You should also ask them specifically what they would like to be doing in a couple of years so that you can figure out how you can provide that for them and you can work towards that goal together.
Streamline Your Meetings
A mistake that many bosses make is wasting time at work. It’s important for people to have a few minutes of slacking off time now and then so that they can recalibrate and focus harder on their work afterwards, so if you see someone checking Facebook every few hours, that’s okay. Breaks are important and should be respected. When it comes to the way that you use people’s time, though, you should be careful. One of the biggest causes of wasted time in offices is meetings. Many small companies pull everyone together for a meeting once a day – this can be a great idea so that you can share ideas and see what everyone is working on, but equally you may find that they waste a lot of time. When it comes to meetings, ensure that only the people who need to be there are there – maybe it would be a better idea if the leader of each team communicates the ideas that were discussed in the meeting with their own team. You should also make sure that you have a set agenda for each meeting so that you manage to stay on track. Finally, why not have meetings that take place while everyone is standing up? Studies have shown that standing meetings help people get to the point more quickly, meaning that the meetings don’t drag on.
Focus On The Positives
It can be very easy to focus on what people need to do better at work. We are all pressured to deliver work that surpasses our targets every month, and this can be extremely stressful and tiring – if you excel one month then you are expected to excel even further the following month. It’s important as a boss to take time to celebrate positive things rather than focusing on the negatives and what needs to be done. Reward hard work and great performances – this doesn’t have to be a hugely expensive thing, but a box of donuts or a Starbucks run for the office can do great things for morale. Give out praise freely – this is not something that you need to ration. It will help to improve people’s attitudes and their happiness at work.
Consider Your Own Performance
As a boss, you may have to do reviews of your staff every so often, which means that you have to consider and evaluate their job performance. A lot of the time, you’re so busy doing this that you don’t give enough time to considering and evaluating your own performance. It’s important to consider ways all the time that you can improve and do better. You should also be open about the fact that you are doing this as it will encourage people that you work with to do the same thing. As you are probably already aware, it is much better to lead by example than by just telling people what to do. It’s also important that you make changes based on other people’s feedback. It is so easy to be defensive and to immediately dismiss any criticisms but you should do your best to take other people’s feedback seriously and consider what you can do to keep improving yourself.
Being a boss is about listening, taking the time, and rewarding good performances just as much as it is about pushing people. These tips should help you get the most out of your workplace.