Editor’s Note: Here at Dispatches, we are always looking for ways to help our readers do things. For some of our readers, that means helping navigate the working world, for others, it means assisting in the ever challenging question, “what’s for dinner?” For still others, it means figuring out how to balance family life with everything else. In an effort to aid in all of these endeavors, we have collaborated on this article written specifically for our readers.
It’s not easy being the leader of the pack. If you’re the big cheese (you’ll find all the boss phrases cliches below!), you may find that leading a team isn’t always smooth sailing. However, there are things you can do make life easier and ensure your workplace runs smoothly. Even if you think you’re doing a good job, it’s worth asking yourself if you’re the best boss you could be.
Skills and training
It’s highly likely that you haven’t got to the top of the tree by accident. If you’re the owner of a company, you probably have a lot of experience and a wide range of skills. The beauty of leadership and management is that you can never do too much to improve your performance. Just as you expect your team to develop and progress, you should look to do the same. Take some time out to spend time shadowing your employees to gain a better insight into what they do, develop your management skills working on a masters in strategic leadership or join some of the training programs you expect your team to undertake. You can always improve, even when you’ve reached the top of the ladder, and your employees will respect you if you invest as much time and effort into self-development as you expect them to.
If you read a manual of quotes put together by some of the world’s leading lights, you’d quickly realize that listening is often the most important skill when it comes to running a successful business. If people are telling you things, whether it’s a client or an employee, you should take these comments on board. It’s not enough to hear what they’re saying and do nothing about it. Listening can boost morale and improve communication between you and the workforce, and it also helps to improve the performance of the business. You don’t want to be one of those bosses who people don’t want to approach because they feel like they’re wasting their time. If your employees have concerns, it’s your duty to address them. If they have ideas they want to share, these could be incredibly valuable, so don’t ignore them.
It’s likely that you’ve had jobs in the past when you’ve haven’t been in a position of authority. When you’re managing your team, think back to those days. How did your boss treat you and how did it affect your well-being, your energy and enthusiasm for the job and the amount of effort you put into your work? If you show gratitude and you appreciate people, they’re likely to give you a lot more. If you don’t pay any attention to people who are working overtime or going the extra mile to make your venture a success, you may find that productivity suffers and your employees may be tempted to stray.
Leading a team of people is not always easy, but there’s a right and wrong way to go about things. If you’re the boss, ask yourself if you could try harder. Effective leadership will have a positive impact on staff morale and productivity and performance.