As one notable superhero once said: With Great Power, Comes Great responsibility.
And he wasn’t wrong, either. If you find yourself rocketing up the career ladder, you won’t just have the added pressures of your own targets and objectives to meet, you’ll also more than likely have a whole team of people to consider, too.
Being in a management role often comes with a wide remit of responsibilities. One of the most important aspects will be having fantastic leadership qualities; but leadership is a tricky beast to master, one that can often be misunderstood and have a damaging effect on a workforce, too.
THE NEEDS OF THE MANY OUTWEIGH THE NEEDS OF THE FEW
We’ll all have experienced and observed different examples of what is considered a good leader in our lives; be them in the workplace, in sport or even in films. However, how people go on to express their idea of good leadership can often be inconsistent with our perceived vision.
These inconsistencies can be down to several different factors; personality, experience, goals and environment, to name but a few.
There's no blanket one-size-fits-all factor as to what can warp a person’s view of what great leadership qualities are; but luckily for us, there are some common misconceptions which in the workplace are easy to spot:
Delegating, Not Doing
A great boss doesn’t just give orders and then sit back whilst others do the work for them.
Genuine leaders will play a key role in helping a team achieve their goals and work just as hard to help reach them.
It’s A Popularity Contest
Being a good leader or a great boss isn’t down to popularity or being liked by everyone.
True leaders in the workplace will always aim to do the right thing for the business, for the right reasons, with the right people, even if people dislike those decisions.
Older Means Wiser
Being in a management role has nothing to do with the age of the person.
If that person has the skills, experience and influence for the role, then they can be just as an effective leader as someone 10, 20 or 30 years their senior.
It Just Comes Down to the Title
The strength of your job title shouldn’t be the overriding factors in key decision making.
Unless you’re at the very-very top of your organisation’s tree, telling people to carry out your orders because you’re the boss doesn’t make you a good leader.
Style Over Substance
Not all leaders will be brimming with overt charisma.
Being a good boss and a great leader is more about having a depth of personality that can remain strong, consistent and supportive regardless of the challenge ahead of them.
SO, WHAT DOES MAKE A GREAT BOSS?
With misconceptions over leadership out the way, we can now look at the key factors which make a great boss and a good leader, too.
They Communicate with Their Teams Often and Honestly…
The phrase ‘silence is golden’ does not apply when it comes to being an influential and respected boss in the workplace.
Staff who are the most engaged at work will welcome regular communications from their manager and the senior heads in the business, too.
If they see that their team’s performance is slipping, they won’t wait long to talk about it or simply resort to a cold, distant email.
Whenever possible, they’ll also share information about the vision and goals of the business to help employees engage with them fully.
Their communication will also always be a two-way street. They’ll embrace the ideas and knowledge of their employees and encourage them to be proactive in bringing their own thoughts to the table.
… And this Includes Feedback
Providing guidance and constructive feedback shouldn’t just be confined to performance reviews or 1-2-1s.
A good boss will foster a sense of conversation and cooperation with their employees, so they’re never left with a sense of ‘Oh I wish I’d known that sooner’ – especially if some of their feedback is negative.
They’ll Be Clear in their Expectations and Trust
From the moment they join, to their first or last assignment, task or project, a good boss will be clear in what they expect from their team. And this follows on from the whole ‘delegating, not doing’ misconception we mentioned earlier.
They’ll talk about the outcomes and results with their team and trust them to execute and deliver the details as they see fit.
If they need support in doing this or are unsure how to approach a problem, they’ll get involved in helping solve those problems – not just allow them to carry on blindly or with hesitation.
They’ll Know When Their Workforce is Stressed
The world of work will never be smooth sailing and there’ll be times when everything that can go wrong, will inevitably go wrong – but this should always be the exception and never the norm.
When the going gets tough, a good boss will know the signs their workforce is getting stressed and step in to prevent it getting out of hand. Be it getting stuck in with the task at hand, to giving staff some precious time away from their desks to clear their heads and return fresh and re-energised.
They’ll Roll with the Punches
When things go wrong, a great boss won’t just sit back and point the finger.
A great team succeeds and fails as one; but when things do head south, it will learn to come back stronger and not make the same mistakes – all with the support of their boss.
An influential manager will openly identify and address their own mistakes so that everyone can learn and develop from them. And when things are an unbridled success, they should be modest and appreciative of the people who have helped them reach their goals. Speaking of which…
They’ll Recognise and Reward
Yup, for any organisation to succeed, they’ll need to harness the energy of an engaged and inspired workforce. Great managers don’t take a great performance for granted. They’ll shout about what their people do in a way they’ll love. In turn, this can build a culture that puts the spotlight on their amazing achievements.
Rewards and recognition are two of the most powerful ways to build both engagement and support staff motivation, and one of the most effective weapons in a dynamic manager’s arsenal.
A great boss will know the value and importance of saying thank you to their staff and recognise their accomplishments – no matter how small they may seem. Think about it: when people feel appreciated by their boss, it makes all the difference to the way they work. Wouldn’t you agree?
They’ll Nurture Talent
A good boss will take the time to observes their employees to find out what they do best. A great boss taps into and leverages the instincts and skills their employees have to fully unlock their potential and push their careers forward.
This is a win-win for everyone. Whilst employees may naturally decide to take their careers to the next level with another business, they’ll be able to relay their positive experiences – enhancing your organisation’s reputation and you as a boss.
They may even decide to stay longer if they feel the benefits of a great manager. After all sometimes the best incentive for an employee is to work and learn from a great boss.
If they’re increasingly inspired and confident about their work, skills, and talents, they’ll naturally feel more confident of bringing success to their current employers. But if a talented worker does decide to leave, their exit interview should reflect how their managers have helped them develop their skills, talent and confidence.
THE PATH TO GREATNESS IS NEVER STRAIGHTFORWARD…
Of course, when all said and done, the elements we’ve listed here are just a guide. Being a great boss isn’t achieved by following a few steps or reading a blog from one of the leading names in employee engagement!
It’s a constant learning curve that is fraught with both success and failure – the key is not to get too focused on one or the other and always keep in mind your employees are the biggest and most influential asset you have at your disposal.