Don’t Be a Turkey… 5 Ways to Be a Great Boss | Greetly iPad Reception

As we head into Thanksgiving and the holiday season, now is an ideal time to reflect on our business and professional development goals for 2015. Nearly everyone who manages people is constantly working toward the never-ending pursuit of becoming a great boss — especially those who are already top-performers. You know the type–everyone loves them, people work hard for them, and most importantly, their teams have the highest productivity levels.

Being a great boss matters. According to management consulting firm McKinsey & Company, “Well-managed firms have higher productivity, market value, and growth.”

So what factors determine your managerial ability? Google’s 2009 Project Oxygen used statistics to answer that question. As it turns out, technical proficiency barely matters at all:

In the Google context, we’d always believed that to be a manager, particularly on the engineering side, you need to be as deep or deeper a technical expert than the people who work for you. It turns out that that’s absolutely the least important thing.

Be a great coach

Google’s research showed coaching is the most important factor in leadership that boosts productivity. Or as The Harvard Business Review stated, “You can’t be a great manager if you’re not a good coach.”

A great boss coaches their employees through work projects, of course. They also help employees select projects that will challenge them and offer exposure to various part of the organization. Successful coaches must understand what is important and what is motivating to employees, both professionally and personally.

Unfortunately few managers receive coaching training. Nor are they directly evaluated on their coaching ability. It is worth finding the time to learn this skill though since it is a major factor in your team’s motivation and results.

Empower employees; avoid micromanaging

Empowering employees can be challenging. No one likes to work for a micromanager. However as a manager, you are primarily responsible for results, and not responsible for being liked. Entrepreneur Magazine offers some insights about how to become comfortable empowering your team:

  • Hire the right people
  • Expect mutual accountability
  • Have clear expectations
  • Encourage employees to make decisions
  • Give workers ownership of their work

Offer (low-cost) perks

An old colleague of mine, when asked what he wanted most out of his job, would say, “Money, I am here because they pay me.”

After financial compensation, Harvard and SAP research shows that workers are motivated by non-monetary perks that allow for greater employee flexibility. Given the near universality of mobile devices, many desired perks have become inexpensive and easy to implement.

  • Flexible work location
  • Vacation time
  • Flexible schedule
  • Recognition from management

Minimize meetings; maximize usefulness

Big companies often use meetings to foster collaboration between groups. On the other hand, startups minimize meetings to avoid using scarce human resources unproductively. Collaboration software company Atlassian’s research suggests half of all business meeting time is a waste, costing American companies a combined $37 billion.

There are countless ways a great boss can minimize time spent in meetings and maximize their value. The University of Wisconsin offers several easy-to-implement tools to improve your company’s meetings.

Respect employees

Employees are people too. And they come from a variety of backgrounds and personal situations. A great boss respects their employees, both personally and professionally. Helping employees achieve their personal and professional ambitions encourages them to “go the extra mile” for you and your company.

When you pass the turkey this Thanksgiving, remember your employees are doing the same. So make sure to spend some time this holiday season planning your personal development to include becoming a great boss–or even better, the “world’s best boss”.

Photo credits: Kumar Appaiah (mug), Next TwentyEight (John Wooden), Martin Cathrae (table setting)

Topics: Productivity Tips

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