5 Ways to Be an Excellent Boss
Many of us spend so much time worrying about whether or not we are good employees that we never stop to think about the fact that our boss might want to be effective as well. Highly effective bosses often have the advantage of being liked by their employees, and a likeable boss can inspire workers to work harder. Not only does being a good boss help the employees under you, but it can help your own career as well. If you are a supervisor who is well-liked and does a good job delegating work, you might have a better chance of moving up to a manager (or if you are a manager, you might move to an assistant director, and so on.) Although it is important for employees to please their bosses, bosses should also strive to be effective as well, because doing so encourages a better work environment. Here are five ways to be an excellent boss.
1. Be approachable
One of the scariest things about having a boss is being afraid to come to that person when a problem or issue arises, or even to ask a question. Many employees are so concerned about doing the right thing and doing a good job that they worry about asking for help. If a problem arises, an employee should be able to come to you for direction. Although repeated questions can distract you from the different things you want to accomplish, if you are too cold or unreceptive to questions, you risk having an employee create a bigger problem by not asking for clarification. If a problem arises, you will benefit from being someone that your employees can talk to as soon as it happens.
2. Be professional
While being approachable is important, being too relaxed is often a negative attribute for a boss. You want your employees to trust you and come to you with problems, but your job is not to be their best friend. Becoming too close with an employee, or being too informal, often leads to serious problems. Your employees may not take you as seriously if they see you as more of a friend and peer than a boss. Also, occasionally, if you become close to one particular employee, other workers can feel left out.
In addition, being too informal (for example, swearing in front of an employee or talking too much about your family life) will make someone uncomfortable. It’s also possible that if you are disrespectful or your comments or behavior could easily be misread as discrimination based on race, color, sex, or other illegal discriminatory acts that you could get sued.
3. Do your job
If you are a supervisor or manager over other employees, they will expect you to fulfill your duties, as will your own boss if you have one. If you say that you will help someone with a project, make sure you do it in a timely fashion. If you promise to update your team or hold a team meeting, make it a priority. Bosses who promise to do things and then don’t are hard to trust, and consistently failing to do the work you promise your employees can make their job harder. It is also your job to correct and teach employees when necessary, and many people expect this. You don’t need to be overly confrontational, but you do need to be the leader that your subordinates expect.
4. Be humble and encouraging
A recent study published in Administrative Science Quarterly found that humility in CEOs helps empower leadership qualities, which is associated with work engagement and commitment for managers. Although the study involved managers, the same is often true in other positions as well. Humility shows employees that they can learn from you, and that you are not afraid to accept ideas from them. It’s also important to show humility by appreciating your employees; although you will need to correct them sometimes, encouraging them by telling them when they are doing a good job is greatly appreciated. While an employee might work hard for a boss who demands a lot, they may show more loyalty to a boss that appreciates them, and their morale at work might increase as well.
5. Don’t micromanage your employees
In addition to being encouraging, you need to give your employees some space. When you delegate projects, you deserve to be updated on how the project is going, any issues that arise, and when you can expect the project to be done. However, if you constantly check up on your employees and give them no room to do their work, you risk looking like you don’t trust their abilities. Part of this task involves knowing your employees’ job duties, so if you have multiple employees, make sure that you keep track of who is supposed to be doing what. While you don’t want to give your employees so much space that they neglect their work, it’s important to give them a chance to learn, grow, and succeed.
Another way to support your employees is to hold team-building activities, allow them to go to conferences, and encourage them to further their education (either with a degree or just a relevant class.) You can also be an effective boss by learning to listen to your employees when they have ideas. While it is their job to do the work that you request, the work environment will be much more pleasant and effective if you strive to be an excellent boss.