12 things bosses should do, but don’t

improve yourself

“Here are 12 lessons Michael Scott from The Office probably never learned.

1_Be vulnerable. Bosses lead by example whether they realize it or not. Being vulnerable, admitting and working on your weaknesses and disclosing fears all create an environment where others do the same. If you want an organization powered by people who care, exhibit caring for both your employees and yourself.

2_Be an expert in your industry. Bosses are busy managing and leading, so they typically don’t have time to work on positioning themselves as experts in the industry. Creating content, speaking at conferences and building other brand vehicles takes time. However, your employees will respect you more, and you will be able to attract higher quality talent.

3_Clean the bathroom. Everything is your job. Let your team see you doing tasks that might surprise them. It helps them to see you less as a boss and more as someone who’s in it with them and willing do whatever to help make the organization successful. It also helps send the message that they should look around and do whatever they can to help the organization, even if it “isn’t in their job description”.

4_Find employees’ genius zones. As bosses, we get so focused on how to grow the business that we forget to grow the team. Growing a team properly is difficult and sometimes feels like you’re taking a step back or just treading water. Employees have genius zones where they work most efficiently, so developing or tapping into those should be first priority. As soon as your team is working at full speed, you can, too.

5_Offer validation. We all love to be validated. As a boss, I love to be validated. It’s built into our psyche and developed from childhood.
Validating people’s work and contributions isn’t hard to do, but people deeply appreciate it when you take the time to do it genuinely. I’m always amazed at how often/easily this is overlooked.

6_Know when to step aside. A good boss hires highly talented women and men and lets them do their thing. Knowing when to jump in the trenches versus when to step aside is a sign of a seasoned boss. As an entrepreneur and/or founder, this is especially important. You can’t grow a huge business if you’re in the weeds all the time.

7_Buy lunch. One of my favorite things to do is randomly buy lunch for my employees. Sure, we aren’t Google, and we don’t have a massive cafeteria, but I am able to do a surprise pizza (or other food of choice) day in the office about once a week. The cost of the gesture is usually not too high, and it gives everyone something to look forward to — quality time together.

8_Take a holiday. We all need to rest our minds and find inspiration away from our laptops and iPhones. Unfortunately, there’s always something important, the timing is never right or you “just need to do this thing.” It’s unhealthy for everyone, including the good boss who needs to recharge to stay good or even become great. American corporate culture doesn’t appreciate this, but it should.

9_Address problems quickly. Great bosses don’t let conflicts with clients or between colleagues fester. Create an environment where people feel free to bring issues to you early on and have the confidence that you’ll work proactively to address them.

10_Give credit where credit is due. A boss oftentimes wants to take credit for every success his or her company has. A great boss will give credit to a team member where it is due. This is a good way to keep your team motivated, and it really makes them feel valuable.

11_Get to know team members as individuals. Great bosses should take the time to truly get to know their employees. Doing so helps leaders understand each person as an individual (their dreams, fears, etc.), which can be tremendously helpful in structuring work in a way that capitalizes on unique strengths and intrinsic motivations. It also helps leaders give the most meaningful feedback to each employee along the way.

12_Give feedback outside of performance reviews. Managers should not wait for performance reviews to give positive feedback or constructive criticism. Employees can adjust their performance and style faster with more input.”

Ilya Pozin founder of Open Me and Ciplex

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