Home Workplace Staff The qualities of a good boss: how staff perceive their employers

The qualities of a good boss: how staff perceive their employers

There are a number of publications out there that discuss the markings of a great boss. But can you ever know what your staff REALLY think of you? Boss Benchmark expert, Allison O’Neill takes a look and what qualities staff love and loathe in a boss, along with tips on how employers can improve their people management skills.

Staff Love…

Craziness (the good kind)
Be fun and flexible. Remember your team are humans first workers second. Do impulsive coffee runs for the team; remember to put fun into the working day. Don’t be strict, boring and stern. Be playful, happy and understanding.

High energy thinking
I don’t mean the kind coffee gives you, I mean a mental and spiritual energy. You should know that your thoughts create your reality through the law of attraction. If your thinking is unhealthy then so to will your results be. Instead think big, think positive and think with high energy. Make sure you have high levels of self awareness. Learn all you can about yourself, your habits (good and bad), your downfalls and what you need for your mental and spiritual wellbeing. Use empowering language and always see the bright side – think solutions not problems.

Focus on results not hours
Give your staff trust and freedom. Don’t micromanage – checking they adhere to break times, monitoring the number and duration of personal calls. When staff have control over their work circumstances they become engaged. The authors of the book “Why Work Sucks and How to Fix It” educate businesses about ‘Results Only Work Environments’ (ROWE). Their systems are based on “the radical idea that staff are adults”. It is a shame the majority of businesses don’t already realise this!

Self discipline
A boss that has strong self discipline is more likeable and effective than one that is lazy and full of excuses. Self discipline shows in your attitudes to work but also in things like what you eat and if you exercise. If your staff see you stuffing a donut in your face every morning tea, KFC at every lunch and 16 coffees during the other working hours they probably won’t think you are a genius. Geniuses don’t feed themselves like that. People that are full of energy adore the feeling of blood surging, muscles being pushed and lungs begging for mercy! Exercise and diet say a lot about a person. What you do (or don’t do) in your personal life has an affect on your working life.

Big Ears

Bosses need seriously big ears. There was once a politician that had really big ears, so he decided to use it in his campaigning. He had billboards with his hands behind his ears and the caption “I’m all ears” – priceless! Great bosses listen to their staff publicly, privately and officially (through staff surveys).

Authentic authority

I once met a boss who when he wanted to be taken seriously would raise his voice and yell at his staff. He thought this showed authority and ‘who was boss’. He didn’t realise however that this behaviour made staff lose the little respect they had left for him. They thought it was pathetic and a terrible tactic. On the other end of the scale, a boss from another department whom the team had a lot of respect for would speak with lowered volume when he wanted attention. He didn’t need to use scare or stand over tactics. He didn’t need volume to assert his authority. Staff can see right through ‘power seeking’ behaviours. You need to earn staff respect before they will take what you say seriously. If you are a yeller, maybe your self esteem needs attention.

Learning addiction
With all the crazy new technologies like Twitter, blogging, YouTube etc it is important to have a very open mind. There are also a gazillion management books around all promising something fabulous. Just like trees, we humans are either growing or dieing. Get yourself a healthy addiction to learning, it will be inspiring, keep you on the edge and give you a wide perspective. Maybe your team could try to learn something new each week – with a different person ‘coaching’ each time.


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