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If you have recently expanded your startup, the chances are that you have taken on staff for the first time. What started as a one person band sort of enterprise has now grown to a fully fledged company complete with employees. You now find yourself in the enviable and slightly daunting position as a boss. You were once used to being the full time employee, with excellent promotion prospects, a steady wage, and job security. You remember moaning to your colleagues about your overbearing employer, the incessant demands on your time and the targets that you felt that you unrealistically had to meet. You don’t want to be that boss.
Being a good boss isn’t about giving commands, orders and terrorizing people into submission to do what you want. You need to be more nuanced in your approach to your employees. The buck stops with you. Your company is your livelihood, and you need to foster the same sort of passion and productivity within your staff team. Take a look at these five simple steps you can take to ensure that you are the perfect boss.
Employees hate nothing more than being lied to or having things kept from them. This can lead to resentment and anger, and eventually a high turnover of staff. You need to be transparent with your workforce even when things aren’t going particularly well. You have to lead from the front and be empathetic to the needs of your staff.
If you have an employee who works hard, enjoys what they do, has bought into your business vision and does everything they can to help you realize your profit projections, cut them a bit of slack when they ask for the morning off to see their offspring receive an award at school. Being fair and accommodating, without being a pushover, is vital if you are to get the most out of your employees. Being a strict disciplinarian, as with parents, can lead to rebellion. You don’t want to be that boss who has to cope with skiving employees who fancy a few too many duvet days because you have been pushing them too hard.
It’s vital that you give your staff team a voice and you respond to their concerns with honesty. Send out a weekly email just to keep your team in the loop. They need to know when things are going well and they need to understand why things might be a little less certain in times of hardship.
A weekly email is also an effective tool to communicate with your employees. You should be praising the good work that they have been producing. Single out one or two staff members each week and give positive praise where it is due. This boosts morale, motivates others to succeed and can help your workplace remain productive and buoyant. Set up an employee recognition scheme and allow their colleagues to nominate one another for awards or praise. This can help an environment of productivity to flourish.
As well as emails being the go-to method of communication, ensure that you still have face to face meetings with your staff. Don’t always hide in your office. Have a weekly catch up at the beginning of the week before fatigue sets in. Have short term goals for the week and share them with staff. Also allow this to be a forum to enable them to air their views on new initiatives, and targets. By listening to them, demonstrating that you see value in their contributions and acting upon their opinions, you are showing your staff that you care. Communication isn’t giving commands; it’s a two-way respectful process.
Provide A Suitable Workplace
It can be difficult at times to motivate yourself to go to work. Getting up early on a particularly gray day to venture out on a long commute to the office is tough at the best of times. However, think about how this can be compounded by the fact that your office might not have adequate heating and the coffee machine is broken yet again. If this sounds like the workplace you head up, then it’s time to sort it out. You cannot expect your hard-working team to be working in conditions not conducive to top quality work.
Whip out the paint and give your office a facelift. Bright white walls complete with artwork and photographs that are inspirational and relevant to your industry can really lift the mood of your employees. Replace the polystyrene ceiling tiles and replaster where necessary. Ensure that the heating is up to scratch, install some air conditioning units for the summer and upgrade the hardware you possess as necessary. You cannot blame your employees’ frustration if your servers are always down, your laptops keep freezing, and everything takes an eon to download from the cloud. By investing in your workplace, you can be sure of an upturn in morale and productivity.
Add a touch of greenery here and there to bring a bit of color and nature into your workplace. Studies have shown that brighter, greener and more natural spaces can boost morale and lift mood. If you need to, reconfigure your workspaces from the individual pod-like atmosphere to a more collaborative space encouraging teamwork and fostering the creation of shared ideas. You need to generate a buzz of work and a hum of positive morale. Develop shared spaces and chill out zones for when your employees may need to take a load off. A stressful workplace with no respite can lead to poor productivity. Be the boss that understands the needs of their staff team and caters for them.
As well as the physical aspect of your workplace, you need to provide the necessary benefits to your team. Investigate retirement plans and wellness benefits with a company like Vita Assure and maximize your ability to foster a happy, healthy and productive workforce. It’s important that you go the extra mile to show your employees that they are valued. When it comes to interviewing the best candidates for new roles, and they ask about the benefits you provide for employees, you want to show off your credentials.
Know Your Team
Don’t be the boss that doesn’t know their staff team. While you won’t want to know all the details of your marketing manager’s divorce proceedings, it’s vital that you know that they are going ahead and that your staff member may need some extra support. Understanding that your employees are humans and as fallible and in need of support as everyone else is vital if you are to get the best out of them.
Take a couple of away days each year to really get to know your team on a more personal level. When your employees know one another on a deeper level, their working relationships become more meaningful, and they care more. While you will still want to keep your distance and maintain a professional relationship, there’s nothing wrong with going for drinks after work at the end of the week and getting the first round in to show your appreciation for their efforts before sneaking away. Encourage your employees to let off steam and allow them to play hard if they will reward you with working hard.
Teamworking sessions have a bad reputation for being pointless with numerous imaginary bridges being built and marshmallow and spaghetti towers being constructed. However, certain activities that foster collaboration can utilize skills that can be transferred into the workplace. Consider heading to an activity center and enjoying some orienteering, raft making and team games to have some fun and hone your team’s listening skills, ability to empathize and leadership.
Invest In Your Team
The chances are that you won’t be able to keep your staff members forever, no matter how much you want to. However, you can create promotion opportunities to keep your brightest stars for as long as possible. To ensure that you don’t end up with a high turnover of staff, you have to financially invest in your team. Fund qualifications, send them on relevant and meaningful professional development courses and encourage them to continue learning. While they may eventually utilize these skills with another company, they will be able to apply any new knowledge into their current workplace, harnessing new skills, developing more efficient ways of working and passing on their new methodologies to others in your staff team.
To be the ideal boss, you need to put yourself in your employees shoes and think about what they need to do their jobs well, and what they desire to see in their employer. Lead by example and don’t be afraid to get stuck in and get your hands dirty. If the printer breaks down, head out into the office and fix it. A boss with no airs and graces is more relatable to staff. It’s up to you to create the ideal ethos for your workplace. An environment of continual learning, hard work and recognition are imperative if you are to strive to be the perfect boss.