Thursday, July 3, 2014

How I Learned to be a Good Boss

The first time I, as an owner of a landscaping company, entered into the role of "the boss," I wasn't prepared for the responsibility. I assumed everyone would work as hard as I did, would be able to follow directions well and would take good care of my expensive equipment. I would get frustrated and angry with the employees when my expectations were not met, and I'm sure that they did not enjoy working with me.
When I had the opportunity to be in a supervisory role again many years later, I was more prepared and mature. I used what I learned from my own past bosses, good and bad, and incorporated those experiences into my own "boss style."

I lowered my expectations.
Not every employee is going to work as hard as you will. Acknowledging that fact lets you concentrate on ways to maximize each worker's unique abilities.

I listened to my employees.
Listening is important to avoid and/or resolve conflict. With multiple personalities, you will have multiple interpersonal conflicts. By listening, I could schedule conflicting employees on different shifts and help make the work environment calmer for everyone. I made it a point to listen, but I did not let myself get personally involved in the arguments.

I did not play favorites.
Nothing destroys morale at a workplace faster than giving some employees the impression you favor one or two people -- even when you do.

I identified each worker's strengths.
Some employees have excellent customer service skills, so I scheduled them at times when the store was at its busiest. Other employees did not have these customer service skills and were utilized at stock delivery and restocking times.

I was flexible, but fair.
Life throws everyone a curveball occasionally, and a good boss recognizes this and understands. No one should fear losing their job for situations beyond their control.

I praised each employee's efforts.
Working for low and part-time pay can be stressful and demoralizing. To counteract these feelings, I made it a point to find something good about every employee and praised them. Everyone appreciates being recognized for their efforts.

I stood up for my workers.
Inevitably, a customer is going to complain about someone. If the complaint reached the higher management levels, I defended my workers. Loyalty is a quality that helps lower employee turnover rates and makes an employee more willing to put in extra effort for her boss.

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