Ask people for their opinion of their boss, and you’ll often hear complaints before compliments. It’s an unfortunate statistic that, worldwide, the majority of people are unhappy at their jobs. A lot of workers feel trapped in their current jobs, and would be much happier if they could change various aspects of their working environment.
A key factor underlying this dissatisfaction is dislike for “bad” bosses. If you’re an employer or business owner, I’m sure you don’t want to be seen as that type of boss!
Don’t worry, I’m here to help! Below are a few easy ways you can be a leader instead of just a boss.
Performance Reviews: Celebrate, Don’t Flagellate
Who doesn’t dread the yearly sit-down with the boss to discuss “prior year performance” and “goals for the coming year”? Think back to when you experienced ham-handed performance reviews, the ones that left a nasty taint in the work atmosphere. Did people usually become irritable and flustered, with a pall of impending disappointment and judgement hanging over everyone except the higher-ups?
Bottom line: the stereotypical performance review process can not only be damaging to morale and productivity, but can make employees resent you for putting them through it all.
As a true business leader, you can make your performance evaluations a little more about progress and elevation.
You can mitigate the oft-expected negativity by taking steps to make your reviews more palatable for you and your workers. Touch briefly and clearly on where you’d like to see improvements, but spend the bulk of it celebrating their recent achievements and all they’ve done for the company.
Don’t be afraid to show your employees that you’re excited to be a part of advancing their careers. And give them a feeling of ownership when it comes to their jobs by enlisting their aid in creating their goals for the near and long-term, rather than keeping them out of the goal-setting process.
Some companies may have to seriously consider a top-down review of their review process. Obviously, a complete overhaul of your performance evaluation system can be a lot to handle, so you may want to consider outsourcing it to an HR consultancy.
Aware-ing is Caring
You can do a lot for your image as a boss if you’re a little more aware of the things that make your employees groan. Everyone, even those workers who always seem to have a big smile on their face, will have certain things they hate about their work. This might be the general atmosphere or company culture, or something more specific like a policy that keeps them from seeing their families as often as they’d like.
Obviously, you don’t get any pleasure out of making life difficult for your workers, and there are certain practices that are a necessary evil.
However, it can pay dividends if you find out what your staff can’t stand about your workplace, and take steps to mitigate these factors, or even eliminate them altogether. You’ll end up with a happier workforce, and will encourage a more open company culture by encouraging dialogue about what could be improved.
Join the Work-Life Balancing Act
Finally, try to make your company culture more focused on family. Over the past few decades, the lines dividing work time and family time have become more and more blurred. A lot of larger corporations tend to reward professionals who are willing to work 24/7.
This is fine for those staff who are willing to sacrifice free time in order to work, but what about those who are genuinely concerned about spending quality time with family?
If you’re in jeopardy of intruding on your employees’ personal lives to keep on top of all those demanding quotas, try to rotate who gets called after hours to polish off a project. Try to be lenient with workers who frequently need time off for family obligations.
As long as it doesn’t severely impact workload, making room for family is always a good thing, as it can actually increase productivity during regular work hours (which in turn can help mitigate the need for overtime).
Forget the “Get Personal” Work Taboo
The days of “a paycheck should be enough” are no longer sufficient to retain top talent. Today’s workers, especially Millennials, want more personal connections in their careers. This means the time of the distant and aloof corporate atmosphere—where everyone is afraid to address the personal needs of employees—is all but extinct. And good riddance.
This doesn’t mean we have to stray too deep into the realm of “touchy-feely” personal information that gives HR people nightmares. Rather, we can be sensitive to the demands of an employee’s world outside work. There’s no longer a need to ignore the fact that we all have lives beyond our jobs.
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