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.
10. You are dependable. Your boss needs to know she can count on you. Before you start nodding your head and telling yourself that you are the epitome of dependability, as yourself these questions:
- Barring legitimate excuses, do you show up for work every day on time and with a positive attitude and open mind?
- If your boss gives you an assignment to do, does he know it will get done the way he wants it done and in the timeframe he needs it done?
- Does your boss trust you enough to just let you do your job knowing that if you run into problems you will either resolve them appropriately or ask for guidance?
- Does your boss trust you to tell him the truth regardless of how hard that might be for either one of you?
9. You are organized. If being organized doesn’t come easy to you, make a promise to work on this. Not only will it make your own life easier, but it will make your boss’s life easier as well. Some bosses are not particularly organized and depend on their employees to keep all the files, memos, documents and assorted other details organized for them. If your boss is one of those, she will love knowing that you have her back and she can depend on you to keep things straight when she needs you to. This can really work to your advantage when attending meetings with your boss and she doesn’t have the document she needs in her own folder but you can just quietly whip it out of yours and hand it to her. Staying organized takes work but once you get your system down, the maintenance is easy.
8. You are proactive. Bosses really love employees who don’t wait to be asked, told, or assigned every little thing that needs to be done around the office. Being proactive means looking around and seeing what needs to be done and volunteering to do it. It means looking around and seeing what could be improved and offering sound reasonable ideas for improvement. It means keeping your eyes and ears open, sharing what you learn, and being constantly focused on the organization and your team. Being proactive is not self-serving. It is not based on what will make you look good as an employee, but rather, what will make your boss and your organization look good. And, in most organizations, looking good, means serving clients and providing great services while maintaining sound business practices.