In today’s workplace, those fortunate enough to be gainfully employed, and survive layoffs and job cuts, have one major area they have no control over ‘” what type of supervisor they have. Depending on the manager’s personality, the thought of coming to work every day can either be a pleasant experience, or one that strikes dread even in the most dedicated employee.
We’ve all been there, getting stuck with “the boss from hell.” For management personnel, here are five qualities for you to remember, to make your presence in the workplace easier to tolerate for the rest of us. If you remember these, you’re much more likely to be an effective manager.
The first tip is to avoid micromanaging. In my opinion, that’s a biggie. When I worked in a customer service call center, I had bosses monitor my emails, and hit a button on their phone to listen in on my conversations with customers. Maybe that’s company policy, but that just causes resentment and distrust in the workplace. Another manager had the habit of calling me into her office every few minutes to tell me something, or ask me a question. That’s stressful, and cuts down on productivity. Constant interruptions like that are distracting to the employee, and turn a simple task which can be completed in an hour or two into an all day chore.
Second, slow down enough to communicate instructions clearly. Remain calm. In some professions, such as broadcast news or daily newspapers, breaking stories can develop rapidly, and the excitement level can quickly ratchet up exponentially. Take a breath. When your employees are counting on you to give them clear directives on the angle of a story or what you want from an interview, take the time to provide clear answers. I once had a boss who would begin talking so fast when she got excited, her words would become unintelligible gibberish, and she didn’t finish one sentence before jumping to another.
Another good tip is to keep your stress levels from going through the roof, to avoid interfering with employees concentrating on finishing their work. In high stress jobs that can be a challenge, but a good boss can do it. Remember, the manager sets the tone for the entire workplace, and a stressed out boss only burns out the employees and brings down morale in the office.
Fourth, keep a pleasant attitude towards your employees, and don’t be condescending. This is important. All types of personalities are found in the workplace, and over the years I have learned to actively tune out the unpleasant ones. I once had a news editor who, I am convinced, had an anger management problem, and she took it out on her employees. It was rough on the days the paper went to press, having to listen to her grating voice barking out instructions. When she resigned and moved on, I was very glad to see her go. When I became a news editor, I tried very hard to be the exact opposite of her.
Lastly, remember your employees are professionals, so treat them as such. Looking back over the bosses, supervisors, and managers I have had to deal with over the years, it seems like hindsight is 20/20 vision. It’s easy to tell, now, which ones had personal problems that spilled over into the workplace. Some were insulting, some were annoying, and some I just felt like strangling. When working under a difficult manager, the frustration levels among employees can boil over and cause performance problems. That, I believe, can be traced back to the manager’s leadership style.
Researching the subject, I came across “Thinking Managers,” a blog by Edward de Bono and Robert Heller. In it, de Bono and Heller outline the different management styles within various companies. They describe how Ricardo Semler managed his Brazilian engineering company, Semco. Semler implemented a system where employees would assess their own managers, with a low rating putting that manager’s job at risk. So bosses, walk a mile in your employees’ shoes, to see how you are perceived.
Caption: What not to say to your co-workers
Create date: 11/15/2010