BY: Ron Guest, Senior Partner, TwoGreySuits
Ok, this is the age old question, but it is worthy of asking and exploring for sure. In my career I can count on one hand, (1 finger actually), exactly how many good bosses I have had. From what I hear from others and what I have seen in the workplace as a consultant this might not be that unusual, or perhaps I was unlucky. How many bad boss stories have you heard? Certainly there are good bosses out there, or at least ones who think they are or who think their direct reports would say this, but how do you really know?
I will share 10 distinct ways to become a good boss. This is based on my own experience and supported by significant reading/learning/consulting in this area.
As a manager of people, you overall goal is to DEVELOP PEOPLE TO BECOME MORE COMPETENT. Coaching certainly has much to do with this, but it is more than that. Good bosses don’t always give subordinates the answers, even when they know the answer. They find out why people are asking the question in the first place. Often the person has the answer but wants reassurance or isn’t clear if they have the authority to act. If they don’t have the answer, it is great coaching/teaching opportunity. This is how we find out how people think, by asking them to come up with an answer if they absolutely had to on their own. (Hypothetical) This way we can see if there is a lack of job knowledge, lack of confidence, mistrust in certain information they have, etc. To DEVELOP PEOPLE TO BECOME MORE COMPETENT, we have to understand the barriers or perceived barriers and more importantly employee thought processes. Very important. So, effective coaching is a must when it comes to being a good boss.
Here are the 10 ways to become a really good boss:
1. Develop your employees to become more competent: understand the aspects of what being a good coach entails and work diligently to apply
2. Make job performance feedback a regular conversation piece
3. Be emotionally self-aware
4. Talk to your staff – a lot, a lot more than you think is required, then talk some more
5. Show that you genuinely care about your employees
6. Get out of the way, don’t micromanage
7. Ask for feedback from your employees on how you are doing as a manager
8. Be your own self
9. Share your vision openly
10. Work to earn the trust of your employees
In this BLOG, I will review #1 and 2, and in future BLOGS I will review about the others.
A good coach will: • not always come up with the answer, and will lead employees do this • develop their employee’s job knowledge, competence and confidence • be inspiring and supportive of their employees • have high expectations • be clear with timelines • measure performance • let people make mistakes • listen carefully • provide constructive and positive feedback on a regular basis
Job performance feedback is critical in developing employees to become more competent, specifically by shaping their behavior. Employees must learn to see value in and appreciate regular feedback, this means constructive feedback too, they must see this as a way of learning and not a downfall or something bad about them. Feedback is generally best done in a structured way, although not always, feedback should be tailored to the person receiving it, ie) not everyone is comfortable with public praise, right before vacation or right after bereavement leave requires consideration by the manager and reward feedback must fit the person ie) opera tickets not for everyone! How you give feedback is just as important as the feedback itself, well intended constructive feedback done the wrong way can work to destroy confidence, creativity and freedom to act – be careful. Employees will resign over what the manager perceives as the right way to provide constructive feedback!
The good news is TwoGreySuits has a Performance Management Module clearly explaining what to do and how to do it in several instances of coaching and job performance feedback.