Are you a good boss? Really? I know when I ask myself that question, I come to the conclusion that I could be better.
So what makes a good boss, and how can we get better? In the January/February issue of Harvard Business Review an article on becoming a great boss offers research and some key tips for improving as a boss.
A good boss is typically influential. But where does the influence come from? Fear? Likability? Actually, true sustainable influence seems to be rooted in trust. Your employees may be listening to every word you say and how you say it. They are looking to confirm or deny their trust and belief in you.
Trust is developed through evidence of your competence and their belief in your character.
In order to keep “training” your leadership skills, here are a few tips…
1. Prepare for opportunities to learn and develop as a manager. For instance, delegate more and test the response, results and detail what you learned.
2. Communicate openly and often. The goal isn’t to become best friends with your staff. On the other hand, focusing on business only and not the person will probably not produce the desired result – influence based on trust. Quantify the individual and personal interactions you are having.
3. Review your actions at the end of every day. Are you influential? Rate yourself.
Some days will be better than others as a boss, but if we keep the focus on getting better, not being perfect, we are headed in the right direction.
Many years ago I worked for an individual who was so far on the side of being a bad boss that he believed he actually was a great boss. His staff did not respect him, his best employees kept leaving, and their departures surprised him every time. Ultimately, he was out of touch. And unfortunately, it can be easy to get out of touch if we stop trying to get better. I know I’m trying.