4 Essential Tips to be a Good Boss
Boss, manager, team lead - all different names for the same role: the one that has the biggest impact on the day-to-day life of all employees. The importance of the immediate boss in a work environment cannot be understated. From velocity to load to work-life fit, a manager’s actions have more impact on an employee than any other individuals in the entire organization. This relationship could be the reason for a worker’s success or the reason for their short tenure at an organization.
In today’s world where organizations are competing the most they ever have had to for talent, the role of the manager is extremely vital. Effective managers can engage, motivate, and lead. However poor managers can create a culture of distrust and loss of productivity - counter to the goals of an organization. Employing managers who have the skills and attributes that are most important to employees will be critical to attracting, retaining, and building talent in an organization in 2020.
Why should managers read this?
From a practical standpoint, managers could always use more data points in how to become more effective in today’s workplace. Who better than to provide these then the employee’s they manage? After all - employee perception of a boss’ abilities matter more than they ever have.
However, the harsh truth is that most managers don’t receive any formal training on how to successfully lead a team. Most of the time it is chocked up to “you either have it or you don’t”. We here at Weeve want to change that. This guide will give managers the tips, tricks, and data points on what employee’s truly value and how they can apply those values in their day to day life.
Key Management Behaviors that Employee Want to See
According to Dr. Jack Wiley’s research involving more than 100,00 survey participants across 26 countries, all major job titles, three generations, and across all major industries, there are 4 discrete traits of a manager that are the most sought after by employees.
The top 4 behaviors that employees value the most in managers really represent what individuals need to have in a safe and high functioning work environment:
Support - This one is pretty simple at the face of it. Employees want a leader who is present, actively listens to concerns, available to course correct on work, and creates a positive environment that is conducive to high contributions. Essentially employees want a manager that hears them, supports them, and works with them (read: doesn’t work against them) to get their job done!
Recognition - This one seems easy to do but can be a juggling act when you have several people reporting to you. Employees want to feel that their contributions are positively affecting the team’s / company’s goals. What is the easiest way that managers can provide this feeling of affirmation? Recognition! Employees are interested in being recognized for the big and small aspects of their role, so managers should not be stingy in giving out praise in any form. But remember, don’t use recognition as a way to isolate individuals within the team - this is easily done by focusing too much on one segment of your team and not the other. The other thing to keep in mind is that managers must be genuine in your recognition, or else risk sounding patronizing.
Respect - Managers need to always treat employees with respect. This is another no-brainer when you read it but it goes to show that what employees value is not out of reach for managers to provide. Regardless of tenure, experience, performance, etc employees need to be treated with a level of dignity and respect. As the macro economic and environmental conditions of life get demonstrably less respectful, employees look toward work as a haven of respect for diverse work styles, experience levels, and perspectives.
Clarity - Nothing bothers employees more than ambiguity without purpose. Employees are on display for their entire career and they know that their performance will be evaluated at every turn. Instead of watching them struggle for the sake of it or because that is what was normal in previous generations, managers should provide help in understanding what is expected from employees.
Key Management Skills and Values
Apart from behaviors, managers have to be able to exhibit specific skills and espouse certain values in order to be the most effective, according to Dr. Jack Wiley’s research.
The Two Most Important Values A Manager Must Hold
Behaviors and skills aside, values are the most important thing employee’s look for in a manager. The most important values that employees look for are Equitable and Trustworthiness.
Employees want managers who value equity; who practice fair play; who don’t plan favorites. This is not to say that managers must equally rely on their reports for all tasks. Certainly there will be employees whom managers lean on to do more or less of the uneven workload of a team. However, each employee needs to know that their manager is making these decisions rationally and taking into account a level playing field.
The other value employees need to see in managers is trustworthiness. Easy, isn’t it? Employees want managers who tell the truth - how hard could that be? In truth, a normal work environment often breeds difficult situations that can become less difficult with shading or blocking the full truth. However, managers who shade the truth risk losing the respect or followership of their team. These consequences can be very devastating - employees are not likely to follow managers who do this too often. This can diminish team unity, decrease motivation, and absolutely devastate engagement.
The Most Important Skill Employee’s Want In A Manager
Employees value above all else a manager that has great problem-solving and decision-making abilities. A short pause to think about the rationale can illuminate that this makes sense intuitively. A day at work is oftentimes a series of short decisions whose impacts are sometimes far reaching and highly impactful. Whether that is an external business decision or an internal team decision. However the best basis for making a series of decisions is to use data, facts, and acumen to lead the way. Managers that have great problem-solving and decision-making incorporate these skills into almost every application of their work and are great at it.
Employees want to be on a successful and talented team. Managers are most times the center of teams, so they need to embody skill and strive for success. Managers that can do these things can foster a sense of pride and confidence in their reports. This contributes directly to employee motivation, engagement, and organizational citizenship.