So you’ve scored that managerial position and can’t wait to get started on all your grand plans for the company. The problem is, your new team isn’t following your lead. If the office falls deathly silent when you enter or the pantry empties out when you go for coffee, it’s likely you’re not ranking too high on your employees’ list of favourite people. Whatever the reasons behind their antipathy, it’s imperative to nip the problem before it festers. Here are some tips on how to become everyone’s favourite head honcho.
Boss boost #1: Be environmentally conscious
Many employers are not aware just how much their behaviour affects the office atmosphere. Often, your staff will try to read your body language, tone of voice and facial expressions for cues on how you’re feeling that day. You don’t have to be a tyrant to get your staff to work hard. An upbeat environment is more beneficial to productivity, as your employees are less likely to spend time feeling frustrated, stressed or complaining about you at the water cooler.
Boss boost #2: Public praise, private criticism
Criticisms of employees’ work or behaviour should ideally be given from behind closed doors. Compliments on good work, on the other hand, should be shared with the rest of the team. However, you have to be very careful not to give the impression that you’re playing favourites. Be specific with your praise by addressing the work that was done. Instead of just going “great job, keep it up”, for example, say “that was a good report, the statistics you provided were really useful”.
Boss boost #3: Broaden your social spectrum
The best bosses are often the ones who make an effort to interact with everybody, from top executives to the cleaning lady. People who socialise a lot on different levels tend to have better people skills. This is because they are exposed to people from various cultural backgrounds and have more informed views on matters. A good way to move beyond your usual circle is to participate in networking functions. Venturing beyond your usual social and cultural experiences will help you see things from the perspectives of different people and equip you with greater flexibility when it comes to solving problems.
Boss boost #4: Avoid personal friendships
She’s the other extreme of the boss who publicly humiliates her subordinates – her problem is that she’s too chummy with her staff. While your employees should feel like they can come to you if they’re facing problems, it’s not a good idea to maintain overly close friendships. It can be hard to remain impartial, especially when assessing work performance and pay. It’s difficult to define how close is too close, but as a general rule, managers need to ask themselves if they are able to draw a clear line between their work and buddies.
Boss boost #5: Make your staff look good
Employees look up to bosses who they think will help them progress in their career. As a manager, you are judged not just on your work but also on how well your team performs.
So if they look good, you look good. Nobody likes to put in the overtime only to have their manager take the credit for their hard work. As a leader, you should ensure that your subordinates do well rather than hog the spotlight yourself.
Boss boost #6: Don’t keep office pets
This may seem like a no-brainer yet many bosses are guilty of it. Whether or not they consciously play favourites, their actions can foster resentment and lower staff morale.
Nobody likes to feel like second-class employees just because they’re not on pet-name basis with the boss. Make sure any rewards or reprimands you dish out are fair and based strictly on your employees’ work performance, not on how pretty they said you looked this morning.