by Peter Economy, author, Wait, I’m the Boss?!?
(Career Press, March 1, 2020)
So, you’re a new boss. Now what?
Chances are, you’ve had little or no training in what it takes to be a great boss. In fact, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics has found that companies with fewer than 100 employees provide managers with only 24 minutes of management training a year, and companies between 100-500 employees provide just 12 minutes of management training to managers each year.
It’s therefore no surprise that so new managers feel so unprepared for the job, and as a result, don’t perform as well as they could.
No matter how experienced you are as a boss—new or well-established—you will always have the chance to strengthen your management muscles. With the right attitude, you’ll be able to better regulate emotions, manage your thoughts and ideas, as well as perform at your peak as a manager. Being a more effective boss means being able to focus your energy and effort on what truly matters, while helping and supporting your people.
If you’re a new leader or boss looking to inspire your staff to be more engaged in their jobs and more effective employees, consider these 5 steps to become a better boss right now.
1. Stand your ground. When you make a decision, avoid backing down from it unless new information or insights change the playing field. It’s important to listen to employee feedback—and you should always seek it out—but ultimately you are the one who is responsible for making decisions that move your organization forward. Sometimes your people won’t be happy with the decisions you make, but that’s a normal part of being a manager—it comes with the job. Be fair, but be decisive.
2. Give responsibility. If you want responsible employees, then you must allow them to take ownership of their work. Give your people progressively more responsible and more important assignments, track their progress, and hold them accountable for results. Communicate that you trust them to get the work done and you might be surprised at what they can accomplish.
3. Avoid shortcuts. Shortcuts may help some avoid discomfort, but the reality is shortcuts also keep long-term goals out of reach. There will be moments when taking the easy way out is incredibly tempting—but show with your leadership that you can stay the course, and your employees can too.
4. Don’t expect perfection. Perfection is the enemy of done, and it’s impossible to achieve. If you expect it, your employees will not feel motivated to meet your impossibly high standards. Be reasonable in your expectations and acknowledge that more progress than yesterday is the goal. As employees work with reasonable standards, their mental strength and personal well-being will dramatically improve.
5. Discuss values frequently. Are you clear on and aligned with your company’s values, mission, and priorities? Most important, are your employees clear on and aligned with these critically important things for your organization? Great bosses and employees know their purpose, and they constantly aspire to better than they currently are. An effective boss reinforces the importance of values and helps others stand for something.
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