By Stacey Thompson
More often than not, the average employee views management in a negative light. Feared, resented, or even reviled, bosses are seen as cruel, unfeeling taskmasters that care only for the bottom line and will readily sacrifice any of the rank and file to attain their objectives.
This culture of hating on the management can go two ways: either employees aspire for these positions in order to propagate the perceived cycle of tyranny, or they will not make the effort to become better workers, seeing that promotion will only turn them into the same monsters they so despise. Neither of these attitudes does justice to the employees, the management, or the company they work in, for that matter.
In the case of companies, I firmly believe that the culture is propagated from the top down. This places the responsibility of maintaining a prosperous and positive work environment squarely on the shoulders of the managers and supervisors. Just as bad habits and mentalities spring from negative examples provided by the people on top, productive and motivational attitudes are spread by good bosses.
Many people have plenty of theories on what managers should be doing to keep their people motivated, happy, and productive. In my own experiences as both a subordinate and as a manager, I can summarize all these lessons into four pieces of advice:
Open Lines of Communication
No amount of mutual understanding and teamwork will happen if the boss doesnÂt even talk with his/her subordinates. This isnÂt limited to meetings or official office correspondence; the ability to be able to shoot the breeze with the troops at the water cooler is an important ability to have, if you want to be an exemplary manager of people. It will give you more insights on what motivates (and de-motivates) your people, and in turn, it will humanize you in their perceptions. YouÂll cease to be a cruel monster in their eyes, and that canÂt be all bad.
Try smiling a little more, too
Though you want to appear a tad more friendly and approachable, do not overdo this, either. Being too chummy with your subordinates will often result in them respecting you less, and your ability to reprimand or correct them will be severely hindered. This does make things lonelier at the top, but remember, this is for the sake of all of your livelihoods.
Give Them a Chance to Shine
You shouldnÂt be taking all the glory and credit for yourself, either. This is probably one of the fastest ways to lose favor with your constituents. When they do something above and beyond the call of duty, or have stayed consistently productive and cooperative, give them due praise, and possibly even a material bonus. Let the entire team know when one or more of them have done well, and if your own boss recognizes your teamÂs accomplishments, let them know where the credit should go.
Allowing them to take the lead and enjoy the benefits of their own achievements will inspire them to work more effectively, and it will give them lessons that will be of use to them when they become managers and supervisors themselves.
Be The Final Word
The two previous bits of advice portray a softer, more yielding kind of management strategy. One cannot be a boss without putting oneÂs foot down, however. The final lesson on being the boss your people can respect involves being the authority within the team or organization. You are the go-to guy/gal when they want a decision made, the King Solomon that will decide who gets the baby, so to speak.
As a leader, it is on you to set clear goals for you and your team, and you have to be firm when it comes to these things. It doesnÂt mean you shouldnÂt be able to change your mind; it means that you will only do so if your colleagues make a strong enough case for an alternative, or if you yourself have evaluated the factors and have found that a course alteration is in order.
Are you an effective boss? What are your strategies for leadership?
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