In a recent survey by Forbes, it was revealed that 65% of workers would prefer a boss they like better, to a pay raise. This is very indicative of how to retain employees and keep them engaged and productive. But how do we become a “better boss”? The answer’s not simple, and it varies depending on industry, and a companies individual culture. There are a few tried and true tips however, that can help you connect with your employees more effectively, and “be a better boss.”
- Be an active listener. – Merely listening to your employees talk is not enough. You have to show them that you hear them with thoughtful and honest responses. Sometimes you may honestly be too busy to listen effectively. If that’s the case most of the time, set up a time once a week where employees can come express there issues and you have no distractions. Feeling heard is a huge part of employees harmony in the workplace.
- Offer solutions, not critiques. – The problem with blindly handing out criticism, is that it’s as ineffective as it is rude. Nobody’s ideas are perfect the first time around, that’s why part of the creative process is getting input from those around you. So instead of pointing out faults, find solutions as well. When giving feedback, make sure to point out a positive for every negative. That way, your employees will be more likely to actually listen to, and act on, the changes that need to be made.
- Lead by example. – While this one may seem obvious, I have seen enough hypocritical managers in my time to know that it’s worth mentioning. Being a boss does afford you some special privileges, but that doesn’t mean you need to flaunt or abuse them. Want people to be polite in your office? Be polite to them! Don’t want people to check their phone during work? Guess what, that means you too! Even though some of this may go without saying, I think it’s worth reminding managers that even if you have earned the right to some special privileges, that doesn’t mean you have to take them. Or at least in front of your employees anyways.
- Be nice! – It seems somewhere along the line, bosses all got together and decided that pleasantries and being considerate of employees emotions was bad for the bottom line, and showed weakness. This couldn’t be further from the truth. As the leader of a staff it is your job to determine and exemplify what behavior is appropriate in your organization. If a lack of empathy and politeness starts at the top, it will work its way into every faucet of your work environment. When people like their bosses they work harder, better, and stay put at their jobs. So if you think being condescending, hyper-critical, and/or down-right rude to your employees is making your business stronger, you’re mislead.
So there you have it, 4 ways to improve your skills as a boss. If retaining and engaging your staff is a priority of yours (which I hope it is) then being a good leader is imperative. Hopefully you can make a few small changes to improve, even if you’re great already.