If your boss has more in common with Steve Carell’s character from The Office than the late, great Steve Jobs from Apple, then you’ll know exactly what we mean when we say an awesome employer – and boss – is often the difference between a productivity powerhouse and a revolving-door workplace.
Great bosses have higher staff retention, more innovative and productive teams and better business outcomes, plus they enjoy their work. Whether you’re a current manager or you’re looking for a people-managing promotion, here’s how to win over the workplace crowd.
1. Become the master of your own universe
We’ve all had a boss that makes themselves feel important at our expense. You know they type: they’re authoritarian, take all the credit, lay blame on others when things go wrong, and make feeble attempts to overcome their own insecurities by making you feel less than worthy.
A good boss, however, lifts other people up. To do that, you have to be standing tall yourself. If you want to be a great boss, be a great human being first. And don’t be afraid to seek help.
2. Equalise status
A great boss elevates their employee’s status above their expectations by:
- Taking the time to recognise their unique abilities and talents.
- Appreciating their contributions and telling them how they make a positive difference to the team.
- Listening to their complaints and issues, and doing everything you can to address them, while being clear with them about the limitations of your power. No-one really expects you to be able to get them an extra two weeks of annual leave a year, but it is nice to acknowledge things like overtime with time in lieu, or maybe an early departure on Friday nights. Work within your means and get creative with solutions.
3. Expect greatness
All great leaders know that people will move heaven and earth to fulfil a positive expectation, so:
- Believe in their abilities, even a little more than they do. People often underestimate what they’re capable of.
- Scaffold their growth by setting challenges that are slightly above their current level of competence.
4. Create a fear-free workplace
Fear is the enemy of innovation, responsibility and risk-taking. To avoid this, manage your workplace – not your workers – by giving employees:
- The tools and systems they need to succeed.
- The power to make decisions instead of micro-managing.
- And turn mistakes into opportunities for learning and growth rather than fear and punishment.
If you’re still not sure what it takes to be a great manager, refer to your own career. Ask yourself what standout qualities your bosses had that you respected and still remember fondly? What actions did they take that prompted admiration in you? More often than not, we are our own best teachers.
Who is the boss that motivated you the most and why? Tell us on the Optus Facebook page!
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