As an employer, it can feel like a relatively difficult time to manage. Not only are employees well versed in company culture and likely have an understanding of all the roles you perform on a daily basis, but social media and office integration have brought people as a team closer together. People use first names instead of surnames in an office environment, and in general the dividing interpersonal line between managers and employees has blurred over the years.
Of course, there is absolutely no problem with being friendly, but sometimes overtly doing so can rob you of a little authority when it comes time to flex that. Now, while it might feel like you’re treading a difficult line of refraining from being criticised and also being a good boss, you might actually forget how to manage effectively. There are ways to overthink your role as a leader, and often this is the best way to become a bad one.
Like almost everything, sometimes being the best you can is dictated by how well you can get back to basics. Back to basics in this instance means knowing what the fundamental purpose of your role is. If you’re a manager, an owner or some other form of boss, it’s likely that your purpose is to run the firm by running your employees and delegating responsibility. Well, it sounds an awful lot to us as if the employees are the most important part of this equation.
To appeal to them, and to become the best boss possible, sometimes ensuring you know these following seven things every modern employee expects from their boss can help you get started. It might be that you have complexified your situation and have become less competent over time, or you’re simply looking for a helpful refreshers course in the art of managing. Whatever your reason for reading these words, we hope the following helps you:
First of all, you need to be present. Being a good manager is very similar to being a good parent. To function, you need to be there. This single thing takes up 80% of the importance in this list at least. Without a boss that cares about the plight of the smallest employee up to the most qualified they manage, the functioning of the department will be impeded. This means ensuring that you have an open door policy, that you oversee small operations from time to time, and that you make your presence felt.
You can do this by contributing to a weekly email from time to time, or generally walking around the office and making conversation with employees occasionally. Beware of over presence however. The best boss is there but also does not impede, nor do they interrupt the social flow of the office by trying to be the star of it.
It’s likely that the best bosses you have worked for made time to recognise you for your efforts. This is not something that’s easy to ignore or brush under the rug. Setting up systems to allow for this to be an ever-present reality of your attendance will mean that employees are motivated to do better. Really reward good work. This shows that competence is something to always strive for, not only because it helps the firm but because by extension it helps yourself. However, be sure to also ensure why the good they have contributed to matters. It’s one thing to know you’ve done a hell of a job on the Smith account, but another to know you’ve contributed to crafting a long-term client that was personally helped by your attendance. As a boss, fostering this sense of celebration is near essential. However, it should always, always, always be tempered with:
If cleanliness is close to godliness, we’d consider honesty close to management divinity. You simply cannot think that the employees in your firm will care about your praise if it doesn’t feel real. This means that showering employees with praise for seemingly little matters will often lead to a lack of respect for your word on an instinctual level. If this means privately talking to an employee and asking them to do better, then that’s what it means. Sometimes playing ‘the bad guy’ will mean your attempts at being ‘the good guy’ become that much more meaningful. Imagine telling an employee they have done good work every day of their lives. It becomes shallow, and the value is erased from the full potential they have to lay down.
However, when an employee is told they have done good work by someone who only utters that sentence when it means something will likely be beaming from ear to ear for the full week. This fosters a good relationship, and allows impressive work to be conducted and rewarded.
A boss must also keep an eye on their office. Any issues falling into disrepair, such as not using the best stainless steel tube system for the plumbing of your office restrooms, to the pest control you might need to implement in your storage areas. All of these things can contribute to a hazardous office environment, and may even put your employees out of commission for an indeterminate amount of time.
Setting up a personal inspection crew to ensure that these facilities are up and running year round, and never being afraid to invest in better facilities or measures of maintenance can go a long way in the functional upkeep of your office.
Employees need to know you are competent. They can do this by simply witnessing how you manage them, and they will do this. You need to be aware of the job roles of all under you and perfectly able to carry them out. Any incompetence here will be sniffed out immediately. It’s also important to keep refining your ability at the top. This means investing in yourself with your time and financial prowess to qualify further in your field. It means conducting more training alongside your employees. This helps you lead from the front and will allow you to stay respected as part of the team.
You need to stay a positive member of the team. This means setting an example for all to follow. Yes, the employees you hire are adults, but even they need to see someone they wish to emulate above them. If you want all your employees to wear smart casual clothing, you better dress in a sharp manner every day without fail. If you want to ensure they arrive on time, you must attend half an hour early every day. If you ask them to practice good customer service you must also take an interest in your clients.
When all this is taken care of, you will soon find that you set a positive example for all to follow, and that your staff appreciates this fact more than you could be aware of.
This is less of an expectation and more of a beautiful thing to gift your employees. Use brevity in speech and digital communications. This means ensuring that you are to the point about the purpose of your discussion. It means you respect the time of the employee. It means you’re able to digest what you mean in a manner that is understandable and requires little further explanation. It can be hard to pin down why this is so important or how to implement it, but finding out how and doing so can improve your social standing within the office to such a degree that small talk seems needless.
Making use of brevity will help you stay an active and respected member of the team, one who is appreciated in kind. The best part? Employees will adapt to this manner of communicating with you, allowing you to free up time to spend in other areas.
With these employee expectations understood, you’ll have a much easier time calibrating yourself to the needs of your office. Good luck!