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
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
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
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.