As a boss, you have your own unique management styles. But when you’re in charge of a team, it can be difficult to find an approach that promotes both strong, authoritative leadership and positive employee relations. Some universally desirable traits bring out the best in employees, including these five attributes that employees want from their leaders.
1. A Positive Attitude
If you want to be a successful manager, maintaining a friendly, upbeat demeanour goes a long way. You may be an authority figure, but that doesn’t mean you need to be cold and rigid. A friendly smile and greeting helps get your team on your side, something that’s vital to the short- and long-term success of your organization. As a boss, you set the mood and the tone for each day. When you’re genuine, kind, and upbeat, you’re likely to see the same attitude from your staff. High morale leads to success, so if you’re not naturally cheerful, look at it as part of the job.
When employees don’t feel valued, they’re not likely to work as hard. They’re also much more likely to start seeking other opportunities elsewhere. Rewarding your team for a job well done — or even just expressing gratitude at work verbally — goes a long way in helping your employees to feel like their hard work doesn’t go unnoticed. Instead of just saying "thanks" from time to time, let people know exactly what they did right and how they’ve specifically benefitted the organization. When your employees feel like their work matters and isn’t taken for granted, they’re more likely to put in extra effort to show you that your gratitude isn’t in vain.
Sometimes you need to give employees some space. Too often, office managers think that hovering over employees’ shoulders is the best way to ensure productivity and efficiency, but the reality is that micromanagement only leads to unhappy employees. It’s counterproductive to assume that employees are going to take a mile if you give them an inch. Most of today’s professionals know their strengths and weaknesses and are able to complete projects effectively in their own unique ways. As long as the work doesn’t suffer, give your employees your trust, and let them work as they see fit.
Confused employees are unhappy employees. As the boss, it’s your duty to communicate exactly what you expect of your employees, whether it’s project guidelines, deadlines, rules, or goals. Often, office communication is more like a game of telephone, where the original message ends up muddled and convoluted. When you communicate clearly with each individual as well as with the office as a whole, you can eliminate some problems before they start. If you’re a good communicator, your employees are likely to feel comfortable coming to you when they have a question or need clarification. Naturally, this helps the workday flow much more successfully.
Sometimes, mistakes and failures happen. Responding to them with kindness and understanding is a much more effective way to coach your team in the right direction than is punishing, scolding, or belittling. While you should acknowledge any issues so they don’t recur, positive reinforcement is the key to keeping your staff on track and on your side. When you view situations through the eyes of your workers, you can be sympathetic to how they feel — especially after they’ve made a blunder. As long as you make an effort to be kind to your staff, they’re going to respect you. Never underestimate the power of simply being a good person first and foremost. With a firm, positive foundation, growing and developing as a boss is natural.