These days there is no lack of job opportunities for those who know where to look. With all the options available, companies these days need a lot to hold on to their employees. Flexible working hours, perks, goof-off areas are just a few of the enticing steps companies are taking to make work fun for their employees.
But is that enough? What is the most important thing that employees need, that makes work culture perfect?
Numerous breaks, flexible timings, free food and the various perks all lose their sheen if someone is unable to stand their boss. What kind of boss you are determines whether your employees love coming to work every day or whether they rue the moment their alarms start ringing.
Those days are gone when people use to slog through whatever job they had and whatever tasks they were handed without a peep of complaint. With the numerous opportunities and advancements in networking, an unhappy employee can say goodbye to a thankless job whenever he’s had too much.
Hence, it is no longer enough to be someone’s boss. Now, you have to don the mantle of a leader, be part of the team, lead and not just delegate. But how can one know the difference? Am I a boss? Or am I a leader? If these questions slipped into your conscience even for a second, do not worry. For we are about to make things clear:
The characteristics of a “Bad” Boss:
Of course “bad” and “good” are never black and white and the murkiness of the wire thin differences make navigating through these dark waters perilous and yada yada yada. But following are some characteristics that you should definitely avoid if you wish to have a healthy working environment and not a tyranny:
- Control: Yes, everyone knows that you are the Big Man who is in the end answerable to the higher ups, but that does not mean you have to be in control of everything (This is where delegating is actually a good thing). Let go, show people you trust them and they might just surprise you. If you give people the freedom to be their own boss for a change, they act much more responsibly and this also generates loyalty (go figure).
- Indecisiveness: A good leader needs to be able to take quick decisions. Indecisiveness shows weakness and as the Dothraki say: The khalasar does not follow a man who cannot ride. As complicated (or not) as that might sound, what it means is simply that weakness kills respect.
Facing a problem that’s stumping you? Buy yourself some time. Ask your employees what they think is the right decision. Not only do you get some extra time, but who knows, you might actually get some good ideas and inputs, not to mention, involving people in the decision making will earn you some real brownie points as a leader.
- Stubborn: If I say that the Sun revolves around the Earth, I better not hear you contradict me. Being decisive is great and all but do you know what represents stubbornness? It’s a mule! Is that really who you wish to be compared to? Really? Well, it’s bad for business. Be open to criticism. Someone out there might have a real good idea but is afraid to share because of your reputation of being rather stubborn. Change that. Run a democracy, not a dictatorship.
Another way of putting this is: Being resistant to change (just taking care of the vocabulary here). Be open to change, if we were supposed to be rigid and unchanging, we would probably still be swinging from tree to tree with our tails (that’s an evolution reference right there).
- Micromanaging with fear: True enough, fear motivates, but fear generates hatred not respect. Making sure that your employees are afraid of you might get your work done, but for how long? How long do you think someone will take on that amount of stress before they quit? Unless you have a complete masochist on your hands, the answer is – not for long. Be a friend to your employees (not at all saying that you should let go of your responsibilities completely), be stern but be the kind of person that people look up to when they face difficulties. Be their mentor if you must but generating fear amongst your masses WILL NOT help you in any way.
- Favoritism: It’s a human nature. We like some people more than others. Call it natural selection, preference or whatever, but when you reach a position where a lot of people work under you, you cannot afford to show favoritism. Favoritism blinds us to the brilliance of others. Let’s face it- favoritism generates ill-will within the organization. The fact remains that to run an organization successfully, you need all the employees and just your handful of favorites alone cannot make the cogs turn.
- Credit and Blame: The mark of the worst kind of leaders is that they are credit hogs but are never in the blame. They look everywhere to place the blame but nowhere when it comes to taking credit. Don’t be that person. Give credit and praise where it is due. Reprimand people when they are in the wrong but also be prepared to shoulder some of that responsibility.
Don’t be the boss who stars in nightmares and gives their employees an ulcer. Be the one who makes work fun. Read this to know the enroute to be a great boss.