Having a good boss can be one of the reasons employees stay at their job. Have you ever heard the phrase, “People don’t leave jobs, they leave managers”? This certainly rings true as a recent study showed that 50% of people have left a job because of a bad boss. No, bosses shouldn’t be overly friendly with their employees, but here is a list of ten good behaviors that all bosses should implement.
1. They Set Clear Expectations
Bosses who do not communicate expectations to their employees, or who constantly shift expectations, set the company up for failure. Good bosses realize that management has numerous levels of expectations, but all are built on a foundation of clarity and mutual understanding. Clear expectations reflect clear thinking.
2. They Focus on Strengths
Good bosses focus more on their employees’ strengths rather than their weaknesses. Of course, all employees need to meet a certain level of competency in the various aspects of their job roles, but you will get much more engagement by focusing on their talents. In the book StrengthsFinder 2.0, author Tom Rath points out that when managers focus on their employees’ weaknesses, there is a 22% active disengagement rate, versus only 1% when there is a focus on strengths.
3. They Don’t Micromanage
Usually micromanagers are driven by a need to control, and a fear of being held accountable for other people’s poor work. It can be scary to step back and let other people try, and possibly fail. To combat micromanagement, identify work that needs to be done, delegate, assign and walk away. Compare people’s skills to the risks of the assignment. A new or unskilled employee completing a high risk task should be closely managed, or the project should even be reassigned to someone more experienced.
4. They Provide Clear Direction
Some bosses think their employees should magically know what to do in any given situation. This simply isn’t true. Employees look to their bosses to provide direction whether it’s an answer to a question or guidance on long-term planning. A competent boss will always provide direction on how to resolve important issues.
5. They Stick Up For Employees
A boss that is unwilling to stick up for their employees is not only frustrating to work with, but difficult to trust. When you stand up for your employees, you show that you’re on their side when they need help. This builds long-term loyalty, trust, credibility, commitment and team morale. A boss’s responsibility is to support their staff appropriately, and to make sure that they have everything they need to do their jobs correctly. When things go well, you all share the credit and rewards.
6. They Hire and Promote the Right People
Hard-working employees want to work with hard-working superiors. When bosses hire worthy people, it’s a major motivator for those working alongside them. Promoting the wrong people, however, can be a disastrous situation. When employees work hard only to get passed over for a promotion that’s given to someone who didn’t deserve it, it can be seen as an insult.
7. They Reward Good Work
It’s easy to underestimate the power of a pat on the back, especially with top performers who are always motivated. Everyone likes receiving praise, especially those who work hard and give their all. Managers need to communicate with their employees to find out what makes them feel good (a raise, public recognition, benefits, etc.) and then to reward them for a job well done. With top performers, this will happen often if you’re doing it right.
8. They Don’t Overwork Employees
Nothing burns good employees out quite like working them too much. Managers can easily fall into this trap because they want their best employees to work a lot. But, overworking good employees isn’t good; it makes them feel as if they’re being punished for their great performance. Overworking employees is also counterproductive. New research from Stanford shows that productivity per hour declines sharply when the workweek exceeds 50 hours, and productivity drops off so much after 55 hours that it’s pointless to push it.
9. They Don’t Gossip
Nothing is more indicative of a good boss than one who doesn’t tolerate gossip. Supervisors who share others’ private information create a workplace filled with suspicion and distrust. In addition, spreading speculative rumors is the opposite of what a team leader should be doing. A boss who participates in gossip around the workplace may have an unhealthy need to be the center of attention, enjoying being the source of interest for their employees. Instead, try promoting “positive gossip” around the office.
10. They Give Credit For Work
Great leaders share credit publicly, because they realize that nurturing talent is an important part of a leader’s job. A bad boss might take credit for their employees’ work for a variety of reasons. If a boss feels threatened by an employee’s performance, he or she might take credit out of feelings of inferiority. A bad boss can try to look good for their own supervisors, lazily stealing others’ work. Or maybe a bad boss is just egotistical, seeing all the work done by another employee as their own. A good boss will always share the credit and be proud of their team’s accomplishments.