“How do you find the time to manage all of this social media stuff?” That’s one of the most common questions I’m asked whenever I present. And sometimes, I get the sense that people are hoping that it’s so complicated and time-consuming that they’ll have a great excuse NOT to do it. Not to learn [...]
The Secret to Being a Good Boss
More than sixty per cent of Australians have reported they would be more productive at work if they got along better with their boss, according to a new poll taken as part of global preparations for 16 October, National Boss Day.
The majority of Australian employees also believe they’d be happier, healthier and more successful in their roles. But, as a business owner, is improving your performance as a boss really worth the effort?
Why being a good boss counts
Current estimates suggest poor relationships between staff and their managers costs economies around $360 billion each year in lost productivity.
Unfortunately, abuse doesn’t have to be extreme to turn a model employee into an organisational nightmare. The Harvard Business Review reports researchers have found even basic incivility and rudeness is enough to cause employees to deliberately decrease the quality of their work and negatively impact their performance. All it takes is an encounter like one of these:
- “My boss asked me to prepare an analysis. This was my first project, and I was not given any instructions or examples. He told me the assignment was crap.”
- “My boss said: ‘If I wanted to know what you thought, I’d ask you.’”
- “My boss saw me remove a paper clip from some documents and drop it in my wastebasket. In front of my 12 subordinates, he rebuked me for being wasteful and required me to retrieve it.”
In retaliation to rude or mean spirited bosses, employees have been found to turn “negative and unproductive”, gossiping rather than working, stealing, backstabbing and taking longer breaks. They are also three times less likely to make suggestions, or go out of their way to fix workplace problems.
Five proven ways to be a good boss
The good news is studies in positive psychology have found while there is no one magic formula for being a great boss there are five proven, practical approaches that any business owner can use to improve their employees’ on-the-job experience:
- Boost positivity – research has found if people are having fun, they’re going to work harder, stay longer, maintain their composure in a crisis and take better care of the organisation. Simple interventions like starting meetings with “What’s going well?” and taking the time to personally thank people for their efforts can shift the mood of a team.
- Engage their strengths – Employees who have the opportunity to use their strengths – the things they enjoy and are good at - are six times as likely to be engaged in their jobs and more than three times as likely to report having an excellent quality of life. It takes only 20 minutes to use a free tool like the VIA Survey to find out your team is at their best.
- Cultivate good relationships – Socially connected teams enjoy lower absenteeism and turnover rates and increased employee motivation and engagement. Taking the time to respond actively and constructively to people’s good news and investing in casual social opportunities during office hours helps people to feel safer within the team.
- Encourage a sense of purpose – Workers who have a clear sense of purpose about their roles and feel connected to something larger than themselves gain greater happiness and satisfaction from their job. Taking the time to provide role clarity and a sense of meaning for employees enables them to perform with greater dedication and better results.
- Recognise and celebrate accomplishments – For all of us, pleasure comes as much from making progress towards a goal, as it does from achieving them. Providing specific, deliberate and immediate recognition around big and small accomplishments has been found to be even more motivating than money.
How good bosses build great businesses
Smart business owners have cottoned on to the fact that taking the time to be a good boss is just good business. For example, when the Gallup Research Organisation asked ten million employees around the world if they could agree or disagree with the following statement: “My supervisor, or someone at work, seems to care about me as a person,” those who agreed were found to be more productive, contributed more to profits, and were significantly more likely to stay with their company long-term.
Despite traditional business beliefs that happiness has no place at work, data now abounds to show that when positivity is cultivated within and amongst employees they have higher levels of productivity, produce higher sales, perform better in leadership positions and receive higher performance.
Most importantly, teams who are high in positivity outperform their less unhappy competitors on three distinct business measures: profitability, client satisfaction ratings and employee evaluation scores.
Are you doing enough to ensure you’re a good boss? Or could your business receive a much-needed boost of productivity and client satisfaction by taking the time to inject a little more positivity into your work?
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