Being a good boss is harder than most people realize. You’re juggling administrative tasks, managing staff members, setting long-term goals and addressing unexpected crises all while ensuring that your team is making daily progress on immediate projects. As a manager you may sometimes feel like you need to be a coach, a parent, an executive and a warden all in one day!
Many people mistakenly believe leadership is an innate skill — rather, it is acquired through extensive study, hard work, dedication and practice. No matter how effectively you manage your team, it’s important to realize you always have room to improve. Whether you are a new boss or a seasoned supervisor, a little time and effort can take you from being a good manager to being a great one.
Here are some tips for stepping up your leadership game:
Be frank: As a boss, it’s better to be frank than to be unclear. If you are concerned about an employee’s performance, for example, don’t dance around the issue. This will only create anxiety and tension, since the worker will not know exactly what you are trying to say. It’s much better to be unemotional but straightforward. While this might not always be pleasant, it will ultimately build trust, as workers will always know exactly where they stand with you.
Celebrate: Celebrations keep work from feeling like drudgery, so when your team accomplishes something noteworthy, make sure to acknowledge it in a special, festive way. Don’t underestimate how much a little celebrating boosts morale.
Communicate: Many mishaps in the workplace stem from a simple case of poor communication. As the boss, you have the chance to set the tone, establishing a culture in which employees expect and encourage each other to communicate clearly.
Decide: Wishy-washy leaders tend to make their subordinates feel uneasy and insecure, like they are at sea without a captain. Hone your ability to make good decisions quickly and confidently. While it’s important to involve other team members when making some choices, be careful not to make every small decision by committee or productivity will suffer as workplace politics flourish.
Delegate: You’ve probably heard “good bosses delegate,” but great bosses do so with a clearly defined plan of action in mind, complete with short-, medium- and long-term deadlines. They thoroughly understand the task at hand, assign it to an employee who has the skills and experience necessary to complete it, outline detailed expectations and follow-up periodically to offer support and encouragement.
Inspire: You may not have signed up to be a motivational speaker, but great managers are skilled at inspiring others. Learn how to verbalize your vision with passion, which will, in turn, improve performance. People work harder and smarter when they feel they have a “mission,” or big-picture reason to push onward.
Invest in yourself: The best bosses approach leadership like they do anything else — strategically. If you know that some of your managerial skills are not as strong as you would like them to be, invest in an online management training course from Mastery Technologies. Mastery offers cost-effective, efficient resources on a wide array of topics, designed to help managers become stronger leaders.