The role of a ‘boss’ is an interesting one. Often the role is filled more for success or productivity in a role which is not itself solely about management. Promotions to boss-status happen because you’re ‘good at the job’ which doesn’t necessarily equate to being a good boss. Therefore, many bosses find themselves in this role with no real training or learning on how to do it. No one sets out to be a bad boss, however, so let’s take a look at how to be a better boss.
Unless you work in an industry stuck in the dark ages, or in military ranks, your role as a boss is not simply to deliver orders and expect compliance. Bosses must lead, manage, and inspire, whilst not forgetting the day job. Whilst some individuals take to the role of ‘boss’ intuitively, it is an incredibly tricky balance to strike. Therefore, let’s look at some specific steps you can take on how to be a better boss:
1. Stand Back
It’s tempting, when new to a role, to get your hands dirty, get stuck in and make some changes. After all, you need to be proving you’re doing something, right? Well, that strategy becomes a problem when you attempt to fix something which wasn’t broken in the first place.
Being a better boss isn’t simply about making your mark, but about adding value. Therefore, if systems are functioning well, then turn your attention elsewhere. No one is going to be grateful for you messing with the good stuff.
2. People are Human
In professional workplaces, you’ll have a range of talents and assets. They each have something of value to bring to the table. However, they are all individuals. It can be very tricky if, as a boss, you take a one-size-fits-all approach. You’re unlikely to get the best out of each person.
Instead, think about how you can develop and bring out the best in each individual. Think fair not equitable. If you insist on a one-size-fits-all approach then be prepared for mediocrity.
3. Invest in Your Staff
Being a better boss involves putting your own insecurities aside to truly develop your own staff. If you can invest in, nurture, and develop those who you lead then you will be a better boss. Poor bosses hold back those who work for them from developing for fear they will leave. This is completely the wrong way round.
As Richard Branson said: “Train people well enough so they can leave, treat them well enough so they don’t want to.”
4. Be Their Staunchest Defender
The best boss is the one that is a team-player but simultaneously protects their flock. Your job as the boss includes defending your team to enable them to thrive and function. If your team feel protected by you, they will be loyal.
5. Get to the Grindstone
You might think back to old images of your boss sitting with his or her feet up on the desk as they give out orders. However, the most inspiring bosses are those who have been in the shoes of their workers. To give authority to your instructions those you lead need to believe you truly know what you’re talking about. It becomes a matter of “do as I do, not do as I say”.
Therefore, never be afraid to get your hands dirty in the real tasks of your team – whether that’s opening another till if there are customers waiting, or working through the data entry that an organisational change has brought.
6. Don’t Micro-Manage
As a boss, feeling like the buck stops with you, it can be very tempting to attempt to keep right on top of everything. However, as well as being a sure fire way to burn-out, it also disempowers those you lead. If you’re leading well, you shouldn’t need to constantly be interfering. Instead, ask them to come to you with a problem, or provide a regular update. Trust them.
7. Remove the Barriers
As a boss, you’re usually sandwiched between different levels within an organisation. It’s your job to be the buffer zone. This means you need to make information accessible and manage expectations. Your job isn’t to add to the barriers within the organisation, but to help to break them down. This removes frustration for those both above and below you.
This also involves walking away from petty-drama rather than fuelling it and navigating workplace culture and politics for the benefits of your team.
8. Maintain Integrity
Respect is earned, not a divine right simply because you’re the boss. Similarly, if you respect others, and maintain your integrity, then they will respect you as their boss. As ACAS says: “Few people thrive in a bullying, aggressive work atmosphere where they are rarely praised and regularly criticised. Treating colleagues and staff with dignity and respect can help you get the very best out of everyone.”
9. Be Reasonable and Set Goals
The most successful people are those who have defined their goals and objectives. Goals provide vision, and then the motivation needed to get there. Therefore, you should set reasonable goals and objectives for those you manage. This creates definable measures for success and helps to highlight where problems might lie. Give constructive feedback.
10. Lead, Don’t Dictate
Finally, reiterating, and pinning down each of the above steps – leadership is your goal, not a dictatorship. You need to inspire those around you to want to take ownership of their own tasks, and potentially go above and beyond. You want to inspire them to care and be loyal. By actively listening, before talking, you’ll find the way to lead and inspire. Give your staff a reason to invest their energy beyond the basics of their paycheque.
By taking the above steps of how to be a better boss you elevate your own capabilities and success in the workplace. You draw more out of those who work for you by being an inspirational boss and leader.
To help you in your role as boss, get the best tools on board. At Natural HR our software solutions provide you with tools such as 360 feedback and surveys to help you lead, manage, and inspire.