Be the best boss you can be

My aim is to write a blog each month or when an important topic is brought to my attention. So I make no apologies for this blog. Please read.

I have written many times on bullying and harassing behaviour but despite raising awareness of such situations these continue within organisations (and within peer groups, even families). However my focus for this blog is to target senior personnel (bosses, managers, heads of departments, etc.). I live in hope that if you are in such a position that you read this blog and if you recognise any of the characteristics I mention below in yourself that you make immediate changes otherwise your company is in danger! This is meant to scare you!!

This blog has come about as a result of my talks with employees many of whom are having difficulties at work because of the attitude and behaviour of senior personnel. My thoughts at the time are ‘if only I could speak with that senior person’ but on the occasions when I do so, more often and not, they do not accept that they are the problem!

From my many calls it is apparent that there are some ‘bad’ bosses/leaders around. Unfortunately most of these ‘bad’ bosses do not realise that they are ‘bad’ or that they are causing ill-health to their employees. If a boss is ‘bad’ it filters down through all levels the organisation.

So take heed CEOs, Chairman, Managing Directors, Directors, Managers. If you are a ‘bad’ boss you are making your employees sick and you are a major cause of stress at work. The longer your employees remain working for you, the greater the damage to their mental and physical health. Also remember that absent employees cost the company – an empty chair is an expensive one!

Some bosses live in blissful ignorance – they tell me (and believe) that their employees are happy as they stay! What you need to know as a boss is that most employees do recognise the effect you (as bad boss) are having and know they should leave but they do not leave for various reasons, such as, there being no other jobs around (in this current climate it is not easy to get another job) or they are used to their job as it has become a habit even though they are unhappy. Also employees who are unhappy are less confident and less motivated to search for another job in hopefully a healthier working environment. (There are other reasons for stress at work but for this blog, the focus is on the leader or senior personnel).

So what are some of the characteristics of bad bosses?

  • Aggressive
  • Narcissistic
  • Even violent

What are some words they use?

  • Count yourself lucky to have a job
  • Everything is a mess unless I am here
  • Things have always been done this way

Do you recognise any of this?

Unfortunately you might be the boss who does not realise how you affect your employees. You may have been promoted or given a title which you believe entitles you to ‘boss’ others.  When I am asked to investigate stress or problems within an organisation, in seeking the cause, I ‘look to the top’!

Make no bones about it if you are a bad boss you are (without even realising it) behind the ‘misery’ within the organisation and as a result you are a source of huge health costs.

In one research 75% of working people said that the worst aspect of their job was their immediate boss (USA Today). Stress costs businesses millions (or more) per year. I repeat an empty chair is an expensive one.

So beware – a bad boss causes mental and physical ill-health and worse still may even be the death of your employees and you!!

The good news – you can do something about it. Remember you can’t change your employees, YOU can only change YOU.

So what make a good boss?

  • Self-awareness: if bosses are not self-aware then how can they possibly be aware of their surroundings and their employees
  • Resilience: be flexible, be open to change but ensure your employees are with you
  • Audacity: be brave – accept if you are wrong or made poor decisions but explain through-
  • Good communication: leaders, bosses need to know where they are going, how they’re going to get there, what is every individual’s role in that journey and communicate effectively with others as success comes when everyone works together
  • De-attachment: this is a difficult concept but as business (and life) is all about relationships it is very important to k now when you are being too needy or someone is being too needy of you. Give your employees some autonomy where appropriate and this promotes confidence so that they are not needy and you are not needy of them. Having confidence means that they can ask questions, know how decisions are made (decisions which affect the organisation, the employees, the brand, the customers)
  • Encourage: praise where praise is due. Show respect: this has to be two-way – many bosses think that they should be respected because they are boss but respect needs to be earned.
  • Have passion: when the boss is passionate about business and everything they do, then employees feel passionate and want to work for such an organisation.

Employees will want to work for an organisation where the boss shows the above characteristics. Who knows everyone will feel they can climb the steps (in the pic) and feel ‘on top of the world’.

My book 7 Attributes for Success details all attributes (some of which I describe below). Being aware of yourself opens a can or two of worms and therefore it can be very challenging but as I said above, if you don’t know and understand yourself, how can you know and understand anyone else.

This blog is only the tip of the iceberg! But it’s a start! 

Working on yourself should be a regular exercise which becomes a good habit. It’s easy to gain bad habits but very difficult to gain new ones.