Are You One of the Horrible Bosses?

The Monster

The Monster

Not all types of bosses are horrible, but even if you’re trying your best, you might be using methods that don’t translate to your employees with the same intention you think they do. Let us help you figure out what type(s) of boss you might be and how you can make some minor adjustments to improve your relationship with the team.

The Buddy

Are you trying hard to be friends with your team? Making jokes, being lenient about the rules, planning fun events to bond over? While levity has its place in the office, make sure you’re not using your coolness to detract from actually taking care of your team where it matters. Free pizza might be a nice bonus on a Friday afternoon but if those tactics distract you from being knowledgeable and reliable during the rest of the day, you might need to reprioritize. Your employees are seeing through it, whether you want to believe it or not.

The Phantom

Are you always on some kind of business trip or locked away behind the closed door of your office? Being a trusted manager means you need to put in some face time with your team. Don’t leave the team searching for guidance and coming up short because they can’t find you or know how to approach you. Being present and engaging is important.

The Manipulator

Do you find yourself making promises you can’t keep just to appease a situation? You’re likely causing more harm than good. Lip service from a manager is one of the most frustrating things for an employee to endure and when they don’t get the promotion you promised, your tactics will backfire quickly. Be an honest advocate for your team; they’ll understand your limitations, you don’t have to play mind games.

The Softy

If you think you’re making it easier on your employees to use kid-gloves when managing, you’re not. Eventually the overall needs of the business will catch up to you and your team alike, and by then everyone will feel too overwhelmed to be productive. Being the boss means making difficult decisions. If you’re too nice to make those decisions, you’ll end up molding a lazy team that will grow to disrespect you in no time. Give your team the chance to be proactive rather than reactive.

The Monster

Don’t be a softy, but don’t be harsh on your team, either. People skills are crucial to your success as a manager and if you’re missing general human decency, perhaps you should consider a role where you interact less with coworkers. Shaming your staff or being unnecessarily difficult when it comes to work challenges or personal issues will provide you with a fearful, resentful, unproductive group of employees. Not everyone is cut out to be a manager, if this is particularly difficult for you, it might be time for a change.

Your intentions are probably pure but your methods might not reflect that. Don’t let your own workplace pressures get in the way of how you manage your team. Leadership involves understanding, guidance and the proper perspective; the results you’ll get from the right balance of that will be worth it.

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Do you want to motivate and lead your staff more effectively? My executive coaching services can help you hone your leadership skills and clearly define your goals and objectives.

Is It Time To Advance? How to Know When Your Time to Lead Has Come

Corporate-Ladder

Are You Observant?

Whether or not you have a great job, a great boss and a great work ethic, you could be starting to look to take the next step in your career.

While being promoted to boss is a great step up in any business, not everyone has what it takes to be in a leadership role. So if you’re considering a move up the corporate ladder, first see if these management qualities match up to what you bring to the table.

Are you…

Observant?

In order to solve problems, you have to know they’re occurring. Are you able to notice pain points and performance detractors?

This information doesn’t come in a how-to manual; in fact, when you survey your employees, you might even get positive feedback. Don’t take the “no news is good news” approach or even write off a positive report as fact; an astute leader will intuit what’s right and what’s wrong without having to ask. Always follow up on the instincts you have.

Empathetic?

Management is a people business. You can bring great ideas to the table and execute each one with great efficacy but it’s not until you’ve rallied the troops with enthusiasm and productivity that you’ve made it into the big leagues of leadership. In order to motivate, inspire and mentor your employees, you need to be good at understanding people. Without empathy, building relationships with your employees will teeter on impossible.

Don’t confused empathy for sympathy; the latter could be taken advantage of. But being powerfully compassionate when your employees are having a hard time at work or at home can take the individual, the team and your career a long way.

Coachable?

How good will you be at providing learning opportunities to your employees if you can’t accept learning opportunities for yourself?  A person who seeks out feedback and embraces it when delivered, will be much more open to viewing feedback as a helpful process.  Receiving and giving feedback well is a key part of being a skilled leader.  Transparency and sharing honest feedback is part of the coaching process, one that you can deploy with your employees to help them grow.

Skilled?

Now that you’ve got your people skills down, what initiative are you going to take to better the company? Have you had any ideas lingering but previously didn’t have the authority to take it to the right people or get it done?  Now’s your chance. Leading by example is going to make the managerial skills you’ve honed shine all the more.

Not everyone is cut out to be the boss. While you might be ready to move on from your current position, be sure to ask yourself some important questions before deciding if leadership is for you. If you’re not quite there, reach out to a supportive boss or mentor to help steer you in the right direction.

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Do you want to motivate and lead your staff more effectively? My executive coaching services can help you hone your leadership skills and clearly define your goals and objectives.

5 Ways to Tell If You’re Not Listening to Your Team

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Pardon the Interruption

You’ve got a full plate – I won’t try to argue with you on that. But being busy implementing new ideas and meeting your boss’s expectations is no excuse to ignore the people-managing portion of your job.

Your employees are always trying to tell you something whether you want to hear it or not. So how do you know if you’re the kind of boss they feel comfortable bringing honest feedback to, or if you’re the kind of boss they won’t waste their time on?

  1. Pardon the Interruption

Are you interrupting? Assuming? Judging? Distracted?

These are not four qualities of a good listener but they might be qualities of an overworked boss. The key to listening is being quiet; that includes you, your inner monologue and the external distractions. Put the phone away, stop checking your email, just offer your full attention to the matter at hand. Listen with both ears.

  1. Can You Elaborate?

Are you asking more questions and engaging?

Never assume you have information you don’t. If you’re engaged with a concerned employee, ask as many questions as you can until you fully understand the situation. Listen with new ears and you’ll be surprised not just by what new things you learn but by how appreciated your employee will feel.

  1. One More Thing

Are you following up?

Just because the conversation is over, doesn’t mean your involvement is. Failing to remember the discussion can jeopardize your trustworthiness and forgetting to follow up can do even more damage. If the chat concluded with an action item you were supposed to move on, be sure you do it. You’ll hear from your employees less and less if they feel ignored.

  1. If You’re Happy and You Know it

Do you know what your employees want and need to keep them engaged and happy?

Are you familiar with the people on your team enough to know what matters most to them? Perhaps you think a great work incentive is to offer midday snacks to break the 2pm slump but what if Joanie, a tired mother of 3, is on a diet? Perhaps a better treat would be to let your employees off work 15 minutes early. Then Joanie can grab a healthy snack and spend some extra time with the kids before bedtime. An incentive idea might sound great to you but as with most things in life, know your audience. And don’t be surprised if the snack cart doesn’t motivate the way you expected.

  1. Listen with your Eyes

Sometimes your employees will feel too scared or uncomfortable to bring something to your attention directly. Don’t blame them for it. Instead, open your eyes and see if you notice anything about morale, productivity or office politics that might need addressing. Surely you’ve had experiences in the past where you wanted to share something with your boss but didn’t feel comfortable doing so. Did you show any distress signs? Your team is likely going to draw on the same ones when things go wrong.

People want to matter; they want to be heard. One of the most frustrating experiences you could provide an employee is to ignore, patronize or judge their concerns.

Your employees are the expert of their jobs. They’re on the frontlines doing the hands on work. So be sure you’re listening to what they’re trying to communicate to you. It’s imperative that you believe it and it’s imperative that you help them believe it.

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Do you want to motivate and lead your staff more effectively? My executive coaching services can help you hone your leadership skills and clearly define your goals and objectives.

How to Tell if You’re Supporting the Team Proportionately

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Are you evenly divvying up your time?

Are you playing favorites with your employees? Initially you may think that’s a crazy question, but what if your actions told your team a different story?

Managing a variety of personality types may present a unique challenge and one that if ignored, could result in some member of the team feeling less favored and overlooked.

Your job is to treat your employees with fairness in relation to the inherent inequalities that come with the job. In other words, not every employee will be equally motivated or successful; some are bound to be stars, making big sales, working after hours, growing exponentially. That employee should be the first to get approved for a day off; that’s not favoritism, it’s fairness.

But fairness isn’t always as easy as it seems. Here are some ways to notice if you’re treating your employees differently based on all the wrong things.

  • You remind me of me – are you prone to being more inclusive to employee who mostly resembles you? Are you both the same gender, nationality, sexuality or religion? Do you both have kids the same age? Do you look similarly? Come from the same city? Have the same career goals? While these qualities could make it more pleasant to work with the person, giving them special treatment or using them as your go-to based solely on the comfortable feeling they give you would be showing preferential treatment.
  • We have the same outside hobbies – so you both root for the Giants or like listening to classic rock? Maybe you both like golfing a few holes on the weekend. Does this make you more prone to share your work time with this employee? Are you putting them in charge of the new project because you feel you know them a little better? This is preferential treatment.
  • MY boss loves you – ignoring all other factors in effort to play in to your boss’ opinion is a bad idea. If the employee isn’t meeting the requirements of the job and your manager doesn’t see it, playing into their admiration can cause problems in productivity and office morale. Definitely avoid this preferential treatment.
  • Sharing the same vices – don’t let the bond you forge over smoke breaks and coffee breaks give them the one-up on new projects. Once your back in the office, make sure everyone’s on a level playing field.

So you realized you do, in fact, favorite some employees for the wrong reasons. What should you ask yourself to correct the effects?

Are your decisions clear? When you make a tough decision, you might need to explain how you arrived at it to avoid misinterpretations. Implement a standard for assignment delegation: if Bill has accounting experience, he can do the budget. If Mary handles marketing, she gets to go to the marketing seminar.  If Joe has more seniority, he gets the first pick of vacation days.

Are you evenly divvying up your time? A manager’s time is a precious thing, if you find yourself with one go-to employee, you’re probably sending a powerful message. Dividing your time equally, whether weekly, monthly or quarterly will display your commitment to building team relationships. Focused one-on-one check-ins are a great way to begin doing this.

Is everyone aware of their performance and expectations? Are you offering transparent feedback about the performance of your team or are you leaving them guessing? If it’s the latter, you should reconsider. Being up front with how an employee is doing will eliminate the unnecessary ambiguity that might be fueling the fire.

It’s not uncommon for you to have people you prefer to work with, but a leader cannot create an environment where employees feel unimportant, unchallenged and underappreciated. Be careful to sidestep those instinctual favoriting behaviors and re-engage with your team as a whole.

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Do you want to motivate and lead your staff more effectively? My executive coaching services can help you hone your leadership skills and clearly define your goals and objectives.

Exit Strategy: How to Seamlessly Handoff Your Role

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Get Your Projects Up to Date

There are several reasons you might be ready to pack it in at work; finding a new job, taking a temporary leave or being laid off. Each situation warrants its own level of sensitivity but whether you’re leaving by choice, circumstance or temporarily, aiding in the transitioning process can be the mutually beneficial happy ending everyone deserves.

You might be checked out, you might be tired, you might even be angry, but leaving your job on good terms is a must in this work climate.   Assisting in the job handoff is a great way to show your professionalism.

When You’re the One Leaving

Get your projects up to date – if you clean up the backlog as much as possible before the transition takes effect, your incoming replacement will be able to learn and adjust with more ease. It won’t be possible to finish everything, but don’t start abandoning your work just yet.

Gather tips and info for your replacement – A quick guide about the ins and outs of the systems, processes and insider tips that will make their transition go smoothly will offer a big impact to the team, your manager and the company. It’s an insight you can offer easily that will go a long way.

Connect with business associates – it’s a great idea to introduce your contacts to your new replacement so they’re comfortable with the transition as well. Clients and colleagues alike would appreciate hearing from you to know you’ll be stepping down and someone else will be taking your place.

Prepare for your new role – don’t forget to prepare for your upcoming new job. It’s important to help handoff your current role but your future success depends on you taking the time to get ready for the next step of your career. Be sure to find the right balance.

 

When Your Employee Is the One Leaving

Don’t assign new work – managers should be careful to not assign any new work that isn’t completely necessary. If your exiting employee is willing to stick around and help in the transition, it’s important you don’t take advantage of that. Delegate the projects properly without bogging down the person on their way out.

Work together on a To-Do list – work with your employee on the things you’d like them to help you with before their exit, such as any pressing projects that need completion or final loose ends to tie down. Be sure to check in with them so they can tell you if it’s feasible in the given time frame.

Check in often – it’s important to maintain communication with them at this point. How are they managing their transition work? Do they need help? Be a supportive presence to encourage the handoff goes smoothly for both them and their replacement.

 

Whether you’re leaving or a member of your team is on their way out, a role transition is important for everyone involved. Be patient, supportive and work together to make it a seamless change.

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Do you want to motivate and lead your staff more effectively? My executive coaching services can help you hone your leadership skills and clearly define your goals and objectives.