Being in charge is a difficult task, and it’s really easy to find yourself holding the title of “bad guy.” You’re often put in the uncomfortable position of having to discipline employees, and people tend to shy away from you, stifling laughs and pretending to work when you’re around. If you were to ask the first person you come across what their “ideal” boss would be like, they would probably say things along the lines of “they wouldn’t care if I show up late” or “they’d throw parties every other week” and so on and so forth. Of course these ideas are nice to think about, but ultimately unreasonable in practice. However, there are steps you can take to earn respect and admiration from your employees and become a better boss.
Hold Smarter Meetings
In a recent blog post by Dominion (link) we learned that the average employee spends a total of four full working days per month in unproductive meetings. As the boss, you should have control over most of these failed conferences. Be smart with your meetings, have a clear objective and keep on track. Nothing is more frustrating than attending a meeting that starts late, runs late, and ultimately doesn’t come to any sort of conclusion, and they will likely leave your employees with a bad taste in their mouths. On the flip side, when they can walk away feeling productive and accomplished, that will reflect well on you.
Meet your Team Half Way
Being the person in charge means you ask for something and it gets done. Rather than simply making a request and waiting for the results, take the opportunity to ask what you can do for employees. This doesn’t mean do the entire thing yourself (my parents let me get away with that exactly once for a 2nd grade science project) but rather see what resources you can provide them with to make things easier on their end. A huge part of managing isn’t simply making demands and expecting results, but also providing all necessary tools to ensure it gets done quickly and correctly.
Pretty much anybody will agree that communication is the healthiest thing for building relationships, and also somehow the most difficult. Make sure your team is comfortable coming to you with questions and concerns, and consider implementing an open door policy. Be present, not to chastise your employees when they do something wrong (which should be done in private), but to celebrate accomplishments and even to simply engage in casual conversation. Make a point to learn everybody’s name, too, as it will make your employees feel as though they are on the same level as you. These efforts will create trust and respect between you and your colleagues, which are key to running a successful business.
Trust your Employees
Be sure you hire quality employees who you are willing to invest in. Don’t undermine the importance of training, and once your new hire is fully trained, impress upon them that they can still come to you for questions. One of the fastest ways to build resentment among your employees is to micromanage their work, so it’s important to trust them to do things correctly. Furthermore, be flexible with your employees. If possible, allow them to work from home occasionally, or give them some freedom to adjust their schedules around appointments, sick children, etc. If you’re willing to work with your team when they need it, they’ll be much more willing to put their nose to the grind and give you better results.
At the end of the day, you are still the boss. That means you’ll have to make tough choices and will likely draw some negative feelings from your employees at one point or another. Make sure you treat everyone fairly, and hear all sides of the story before administering punishments. Furthermore, stand by your decisions; letting your employees walk all over you will do more harm to your company than you might think. As much as you might want to be the fun boss who everybody adores, you are there to enforce rules. That doesn’t mean you have to be the bad guy though. As long as you build trust and communication with your employees, admit when you’re wrong or make mistakes, and treat everybody fairly, you will earn their respect and become a boss they will brag to their friends about.
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