Are you squirming just thinking about some you’ve had in your life?
Almost all of us have been there. And we’ve lived to tell…and learn. I can attribute all my management skills to what I’ve learned from those who’ve managed me. (For better or for worse. And really, I learned more from the bad ones.)
To be honest, I’m writing this blog at the request of my team. Not because I’m a horrible boss! I will toot my own horn for a moment and say that I think I’m a great boss. And so do they, obviously, because they asked me to do this as somewhat of a public service announcement. After listening to friends and family lament the horrors of bad managers they were hoping I would shed some insight on how to be a better boss.
So you horrible bosses out there, listen up! I’d say you know who you are but I think part of the problem is you don’t. Your level of self-awareness is probably low (along with your EQ). But I hope you’ll open your eyes (and ears) and heed my advice:
1. Back the Eff Up
If you’re someone’s manager (and especially if you’re senior), you’ve clearly done something to get there. Which means you have less to prove than those under you. So how about letting them take centre stage? Let them present, put their name on presentations, take the client meeting, etc.? It won’t kill you, I promise.
2. Criticize with Compassion
I’m a big believer that there needs to be a boss. But with that power comes great responsibility. On the one hand, you don’t do anyone any favours by not providing feedback on how they can develop their skills. (In case you think you’re perfect, newsflash…none of us are.) But it’s also not your job to teach someone how to hold back tears in a meeting. It is possible to be honest and kind at the same time. Choose your words (and your tone) carefully.
3. Here…and hear!
No, don’t ever say that.
In a world of distractions (Put. The. Phone. Down.), even the best of us are guilty of getting sidetracked. But as leaders I believe we are here to serve as much as we lead. And being there doesn’t just mean making face time. It means really being there. That means being available, approachable and open-minded. Let your people speak and let them really be heard.
So how about giving it a shot? Side effects may include happy and more productive employees, greater retention, and increased profitability. Are you listening now?