6. Publicly announce private things. This one is great. Everyone on your staff has private things they are reluctant to share with their colleagues and who better than the boss to help them out with this? After all, as the boss, you are the one to ensure that you have an environment of open communication. If you don’t tell your employees what’s going on with each other, how can they support each other in their times of need? If this is truly a team, there should be no secrets. Telling everyone everything helps build camaraderie among the troops, and help each one of them know that he is not the only one with a drug-addicted child or alcoholic spouse. Maybe they can even start their own little support group, all because you are so good about getting everything out in the open.
5. Use humor as a weapon. Well, not really a weapon so much as just an alternate way to get your message across. There is nothing like a sharp, snappy sarcastic comment to keep people in their place. After all, isn’t the work environment supposed to be fun? And, you have some great one-liners because your people give you so much material to work with. Teasing and making fun of people work well also. The added bonus is that this helps you find out who the smart ones are since they will be the ones who get your jokes. And if the others get upset, not to worry. It’s not your fault they don’t have a sense of humor.
4. Praise in private. You probably won’t need to do this often, but on that rare occasion when you just can’t get out of providing what the management books refer to as, “positive reinforcement”, just call the employee into your office and get it over as quickly as possible. You don’t even need to provide any details. Just a quick pat on the back and an “Atta boy” will suffice. And don’t even think about bringing it up in a staff meeting unless you want a mutiny. People are jealous and petty and you don’t want to cause any altercations. And, don’t worry if you are too busy to give that “Atta boy” right away. Sometimes it is good to make people wait. That way they don’t get overconfident.
3. Why lead when you can bully? Frankly, bullies have gotten a bad name recently and it is sad. Bullies, with their decisive nature and iron fist, can be very effective bosses. They can be great at getting a job done since no one wants to cross them. As a boss, you don’t have time to entertain employees who want to argue or give you an opinion that you neither welcome nor asked for. That takes way too much time. After all, if they wanted democracy, they should be politicians rather than employees. Once again, all the theories about leadership and getting people to do what you need them to do and be happy about it, is just theory. Who cares if they are happy as long as they get the job done? You aren’t their therapist, you are their boss. Frequent temper tantrums will help you reinforce this.
2. Reprimand in public. What goofball management experts ever thought up the concept of reprimanding staff privately? The concept is ludicrous. How on earth are people supposed to learn from the mistakes of others if they do not know about them? Reprimanding staff in public accomplishes two things. First, it makes the occasion much more memorable for the person you reprimand, and therefore helps avoid such mistakes in the future. Second, it sure shows the rest of them what will happen if they screw up as well. Public floggings may no longer be allowed, but properly administered; public reprimands can accomplish much the same thing. And, they keep the workplace lively and entertaining.
- Control everything. People are basically not very smart and should not be left to their own devices to make mistakes you will have to deal with. You do not want to spend your days cleaning up their messes. The easiest way to avoid that is to concentrate on the “Three Ps”, meaning policy, process, and procedures. That means you will need to make sure that all activities that even remotely nibble around the edges of any of these things come through you first. You have read all about the “empowerment” theory, and like many management theories, it sounds better than it works. Perhaps someday, when your people are smarter, you will think about it. No promises though. For now, you want to see everything and sign off on everything.
The stampede of Baby Boomers exiting the workforce today has provided a heretofore unprecedented opportunity for individuals who are stepping right into vacant management positions. If you are one of these individuals and you are looking for tips on becoming a boss, you are in the right place. How your staff feel about you depends on how you act. If you have decided you want your employees to like you and respect you, this is not the article for you. Go find a couple good books on management theory and you will find much of the information you need. On the other hand, if you are okay with having your employees hate you, you have definitely come to the right place. Over the next few weeks, I will be giving you a list of the twelve best ways to accomplish that. These tips have been tested and retested by supervisors and managers for as long as society has been in business. There are so few guarantees in the world today, but these twelve tips are a sure thing. They are especially easy to follow for new managers who don’t have to relearn any of those management theories of recent years whose practical application resulted in happy and productive employees. So new bosses if you really want your employees to hate working for you: Stay tuned for Tip #1!
So now that you have a clearer picture of why you want your boss to think you’re great, take a hard look at these twelve areas and assess where you are. If you find you need to work on a few areas, don’t get discouraged, get to work. If you want another opinion, ask your boss how you measure up. Make a chart if it helps you keep track. Put specific action items and time frames on your chart. If charting isn’t for you, find some other mechanism to assess your skills and keep track of your efforts and your progress. Mastering these twelve areas will not only make your boss think you’re great, it will greatly boost your own confidence, and make work so much more fun.
12. You take criticism well. You don’t cry in your soup or sob in the restroom stall every time your boss tells you that you need to make improvements in your work. If you are lucky, your boss is clear, concise, and compassionate when criticizing your work and you see that as yet another opportunity on the road to continuous improvement. Even if your boss has the diplomacy of a water buffalo, you can see through the delivery and concentrate on the message. And, if you have one of those bosses who is just plain mean, you know how to not take the criticism personally, how to process the accuracy of the message, and you make note of what not to do when you become a supervisor. It’s all a learning experience and you are in it to learn everything you can.
- You can see and understand “the big picture”. Good bosses are always focused on “the big picture”, meaning the context in which every decision must be made and its impact on the organization’s mission. Being a boss is tough and having to stop every few minutes to explain, re-explain, and even re-explain context and circumstances to employees whose only vision is what is currently in front of them can get so tiresome. Understanding the big picture means learning who does what in your organization, the relationship and connections between the organization’s various components, and where you and your team fits in. It also means knowing specifically who your organization’s stakeholders and customers are, and who is impacted either directly or indirectly by the work that you and your team does. Most bosses don’t have time to constantly school you in all this information, but they love it when you take it upon yourself to learn what you can and ask questions about things you need to know. After all, the better you understand the organization you work for, the more valuable you are to your boss.