As CEO and/or business owner, you’re technically “Boss-in-Chief” for your organization. Of course, you can’t supervise everyone in the business - that’s why you have managers in critically important positions - but where you do have hands-on “boss responsibilities,” don’t you want to be great at what you do? And don’t you want department heads to be great bosses, as well?
In a previous post, we’ve contended that the type of leadership behavior “you demonstrate on a daily basis sets the tone of your organization and company culture.” In other words, being a great boss “often means the difference between a healthy, thriving workplace and a toxic environment where no one succeeds, and employees feel downtrodden” - a potential threat for any organization at any time.
Being a great boss usually translates into a more upbeat workplace environment with high employee morale and productivity. Here are action steps you and your managers can take to achieve this goal:
Encourage “productive” conflict.
Not all conflict has to revolve around personalities, competition for higher status and/or workplace politics. In fact, as Forbes notes, productive conflict “brings the team together because they trust each other enough to know that everyone is contributing in support of the team goal.” Issues are addressed directly, out in the open and - when necessary - arbitrated by the boss in a calm, rational, and affirmative manner.
Promote risk-taking among employees.
Solutions to pressing organizational issues aren’t easy to find. This is particularly true in an environment where bosses come down hard on employees who make mistakes or offer suggestions that don’t pan out - and may cost money and resources in the process.
A punitive approach to risk-taking not only denies the company the benefit of its employees’ talents and potential insights - it also deadens initiative and out-of-the-box thinking, which can prove essential to success in the long run.
A great boss encourages his or her team to come up with ideas to resolve nagging problems - even if those ideas get no further than the drawing board or end up in the trash. In these situations, failure isn’t punished, but instead used as “lessons learned,” leading to bigger successes down the road.
Evaluate your own management style.
Great bosses understand why they behave the way they do, and the effect their management style has on others. Successful bosses motivate their teams “by identifying their own weaknesses and making necessary adjustments to enhance effectiveness,” writes Digitalist Magazine. “Your team benefits every time you succeed.”
Recognize and celebrate your team’s achievements.
A bad boss waits to see if their employees’ work pays off, and then tries to take credit for the achievement. By contrast, a great boss makes sure everyone knows when an employee’s efforts result in organizational success.
“Employees want to feel appreciated and have their work noticed,” as Business News Daily notes. When they’re credited for their efforts, “it motivates them to keep working hard,” while unacknowledged team members “think their work is unnoticed and will start caring less.”
In an era where employee retention has become a strategic objective, it’s more imperative than ever that employees feel valued for their work. As we all know, turnover is often caused by poor manager-employee relationships. No business wants to get a reputation as a place of conflict and strife. Striving to be a great boss - and instilling this purpose in your managers - can dramatically improve your standing as an employer of choice and help the business grow.
Learn more about being a great boss. Check out our Small Business Pulse Survey, “Leadership Qualities of Business Owners.”