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What Kind of Boss Are You?

by HR Coach on March 30, 2009

The ideal boss (read: CEO, owner, manager, or supervisor) inspires their staff to achieve and produce exceptional results for the company every day. Sometimes when we look at the ‘don’ts’ of an issue, the ‘do’s’ become more obvious.

Take an open, honest look at these four less-than-ideal types of bosses and you may find ways to begin to become the boss you’d really like to be – the boss who could be a contender for a Top 500 type of award.

The ‘No Time’ Boss

You want things to happen, but don’t believe you have the time to hold the employee’s hand and teach them how to do the job properly.

You may even say, “If I have to take the time to show employees how I want the job done, I might as well do it myself, because doing it will take a fraction of the time teaching it will.”

The trouble with this thinking is, by not taking the time to teach the employee how to perform the job to acceptable standards, you’re going to have to do the job forever. Think: short term pain for long term gain. Yes, it may take repeating the instructions several times, or modifying the employee’s process, before the outcome meets your expectations. But look at the big picture. Once one employee gets it they’ll be able to teach it to the next person, freeing you up even further.

The ‘My Way is the Only Way’ Boss

You micro manage your employees, making sure they do things exactly the way you want them done every step of the way.

You believe you’ve worked all the bugs out and found the perfect method for accomplishing the desired result. And maybe you have. Maybe you’ve spent years and mega dollars perfecting your methods.

If this is the case, explain the process you went through to develop your system. Explain why you insist on your method being followed to the letter. Most employees will respect this once they understand it.

If, on the other hand, you are convinced your way is the best way because that’s the way you’ve always done it, prepare to be astounded once you loosen the reins a bit.
It can be much more effective and efficient to explain to an employee what end result you expect (quality, quantity,) what restrictions they must deal with (time or budget,) and then leave them to do the job.

It’s always a good idea to set up frequent check-in points to reassure yourself that the job is on target or to deal with any problems that may have come up.

The ‘You’re on Your Own’ Boss

The opposite of the My Way is the Only Way boss, your employees may feel they have no idea what it is you expect until it’s too late.

You assign tasks or projects, but your employees just don’t have enough direction to accomplish them to the standards you expect. They may feel incompetent when they have to ask you for more details or instruction.

If you have any inkling this may describe you, the solution may be to make sure the outcomes are clear. Give employees ample opportunity to clarify what procedures they’ll use, what standards must be met and any other requirements such as budget or timelines.

Set up check-in meetings along the way and let your employees know either where to get additional information or when it’s convenient for them to get any further clarification they may need from you, once they begin the project or task.

This is especially important when you assign a task to a new employee or assign something unusual to an experienced employee.

The ‘Seagull’ Boss

You guessed it! This boss flies in squawking, craps all over everybody and then flies off again, often still squawking about something.

Think about it. Do you believe no news is good news? Do you notice only the bad things your employees do? Do you wonder why nobody ever seems to take any initiative?

Employees do need to be corrected. Privately, immediately, and humanely.  They also need praise when they’ve done a good job. Publicly, immediately, and with passion. What you focus on, grows!
Fear is a huge demotivator. When employees know the boss cares about them, and will treat them fairly, they’re much more likely to perform well and take innovative risks.

If you have any thoughts along these lines, please share them below!

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