“O Captain! My Captain!” Be an Inspirational Boss

Being a good and effective boss or manager is very challenging. Everybody’s definition of what makes a good boss differs and it’s difficult to know what your employees or reportees think of you and to know which approach will be most useful.

A study conducted revealed that one in three employees don’t consider their boss to be doing doing an effective job and fewer than 40 per cent employees are motivated by their supervisor to give their best effort.

If you are a boss or manager, here are a few things to keep in mind to ensure you’re the most effective in your role.

Be an active and good listener

Research has revealed that a lot of the dissatisfaction employees feel at work is caused by their supervisor’s unwillingness to listen to them. It’s very easy to be the only one talking and only airing your point of view as your employees are quiet and resentful. Don’t do that. Encourage employees to share their ideas and then explain calmly why it might not work. Even if they still disagree with you, they will respect you.

Don’t judge a book by it’s cover and don’t assume you know what an employee will say when they come to you with a problem. Listen to them and wait till they’re done before you reply.

Don’t be an obnoxious know it all

Avoid trying to appear like you are infallible in front of employees. It is ok to express doubt sometimes and it’ll encourage employees to feel like they can offer their ideas when asked and when appropriate. It’ll also encourage a positive attitude towards learning in your employees and ensure they come clean with all doubts easily, productive in the long run.

In the words of W Somerset Maugham, “It’s easy to be a holy man on top of a mountain.” Don’t let your position get to your head. Try and remain humble.

Don’t be a micromanager

In the words of Warren Buffet, “Hire well, manage little.” Many bosses find it difficult to give up control and let employees do their jobs independently and become a constant source of interference. This leads to a feeling of frustration among employees, demotivating them and making them feel like they will never be allowed to work on their own. This will make them far less invested and engaged in their jobs.

The sign of an effective manager is one whose team runs efficiently even in their absence. Hire good talent who are experts in their areas and trust them to do their job right.

Know each employee’s unique strengths

Figure out each of your team members specific strengths and unique weaknesses. Create a winning strategy for your team by capitalising on them. Focusing on people’s strengths means you can draw the best from them always and have a winning team. Help your team members or employees develop their skills and help develop and benefit their career overall.

Be passionate about the goal you’re all trying to achieve and arouse the same in your employees. People tend to excel in things they feel passionately about.

Communicate effectively and give immediate feedback

Make sure all your employees know exactly what you expect of them at all times. Clearly defined roles and expectations will avoid confusion and frustration.

Give employees immediate feedback for work they’ve done. If it’s a good job, congratulate them and ask them to keep up the excellent work. If they messed up, reassure them and then have a constructive feedback session with them where you go through their process with them and pinpoint where the mistake happened and ensure that it isn’t repeated.

Don’t just be a silent observer

There are moments where you will have to actually get your hands dirty and teach employees how to do a particular job, step-by step. Recognise when such an action is required and be ready to be a coach. It’ll help you as things will be done correctly and quickly without constant supervision. There will be moments when you should be a silent observer and step back and let them figure out how to do it themselves.

Be ready to alternate between an active and passive supervisory role, depending on the need of the hour.

Be friendly, approachable and empathetic

Be a friendly boss who is approachable when problems come up and it will save a lot of headache for you in the long run. If your employees are scared of you they won’t approach you for help right in the beginning when a problem is in its nascent stage and easily solved. You will invariably find out about the problem when it has reached mammoth proportions and has already done some damage.

Relate to your employees as humans with feelings and don’t be afraid to occasionally express your own, in moderation, when the occasion calls for it.

Instead of thinking about what your employees can do for you, why not think about what you can do to help them succeed. Inspire them by embodying all the qualities you want them to show. Teach them when needed. Remove obstacles in their path to help them succeed and reach their true potential. Relate to them on a human level. Protect them when necessary and don’t throw them under the bus. Encourage them to grow and succeed even beyond your own company.Develop all these qualities and you’ll become an unforgettable boss, remembered by your employees throughout their careers.