blog is dedicated to that most influential person in the life of any
professional; one’s direct supervisor.
Let me start by saying that my boss, who I will call the “Big Boss,” is
absolutely the most wonderful boss EVER! (Hey, you never know when Big Boss
will decide to Google your name and read your blogs).
brown-nosing aside, I do have a terrific boss.
Overall, I don’t have horror stories to tell, but I also haven’t always
been so lucky. Some bosses have been
better, some have been worse, but in the process I have learned a few things on
how to work with your boss and how to BE a better boss. In this post, I will
focus on the latter, and, in a future installment, I’ll give you the employee
perspective and what to look for in a boss.
good boss is someone who is respectful, encouraging and supportive. A good supervisor measures performance not on
the basis of how much time somebody is warming up a bench or desk, but in the
quality of the output. The days of
staying until the boss leaves the office should be over by now and
professionals should be judged based on results, not hours worked. A great supervisor also creates an
environment for employees to show results, identifying the strengths and
weaknesses of the employee to provide both “shining” (strengths) as well as learning
order to obtain results, you have to delineate clear expectations. If you want final say on everything, state
so. If you expect your employee to make
decisions, say so and provide them with the proper authority. Clearly explain how, when, and what you want
to communicate and be informed of. Be as specific as possible. For example, Big
Boss isn’t always on-site but we have agreed that e-mail is fine for the most
part. When that’s not enough, I get
clear instructions (usually by e-mail) on when and where to meet him: phone
call on his cell ASAP or scheduling a time when he is on-site for a
every new assignment I’m advised on how much authority I have to make decisions
and what his role will be: advisor, overseer, or decision maker. There is big difference between needing a
full review of the action plan prior to making a decision or sending a simple
FYI message after the fact. Most of the
time, all I have to do is the latter, but sometimes I better get that review
keep the communication lines open. I
know it seems obvious, particularly after the previous paragraph, but believe
me it is so easy to get bogged down with the day-to-day that you forget to
check on the well-being of your employees.
Regular communication goes beyond the assignments and the results. Good communication also includes open and
frank discussions about goals and aspirations and how they align with career
plans and future opportunities (strengths and weaknesses, remember?),
challenges faced in and outside of work and regular feedback in the form of
both praise and opportunities for improvement.
I’m a firm believer in personal connections.
I’m not proposing being best friends with your employees, but you do
have to find that common ground at a personal level and let your human side
show. A personal connection can be a
hobby, family, similar taste in TV shows, etc.
The idea is to find common ground for conversation that puts you both at
ease. The bottom line is we spend a lot
of time at work and the relationships we establish with our employees will
eventually reflect in our performance.
If we are good supervisors, our employees will be happy, they will perform
better and we will both get the credit.
I call that a win-win situation!