Happy Boss’s Day!

David BrentWell it seems that today is national ‘Boss’s Day’ in the US and Canada. Billed as a time for workers to thank their bosses for being kind and fair throughout the year (that did make me chuckle!). I wonder how many line managers in the US can expect a card today or a novelty mug with ‘world’s best boss’ imprinted in large bold writing? My guess is not many, as this ‘national holiday’ has been the source of much criticism and mockery… dubbed a ‘hallmark holiday’ by many. And who can blame them?

What could your manager do to ensure you feel they’re looking out for your best interests and a great boss? ‘Give me a big pay rise’ I hear you all cry! Well that’s not always possible, particularly with the economy making life hard for many organisations. But there are plenty of things line managers could do better that would ensure that their staff are happy, content and always striving to go the extra mile for the company, including:

 

1. Recognition

A little praise goes a long way. Believe it or not a lack of recognition is the number one reason people leave an organisation, piping poor salary and career progression to the post.

2. Communication

Poor communication from the top down remains a key player in staff dissatisfaction. Time and time again we see senior management make the fundamental mistake of assuming that all their staff are aware of their company vision and values. But often, while directors may pass information down to their middle-managers, the staff ‘on the ground’, who are the first point of contact with customers, never get that information. These are brand ambassadors and should be kept informed as to the direction and progress of the organisation in order to truly believe in it. A well thought out internal communication plan is essential to ensure that middle-management have the tools they need to keep their team striving towards the same goal.

3. Empower

Be honest now, how many of the managers out there have ever thought ‘if a job’s worth doing right, do it yourself’? Management need to empower employees with responsibility over certain tasks. Not only is it a sign of trust in their abilities, but many employees feel stifled if they are micro-managed. This of course is a judgement call on the part of a line manager and cannot be applied to certain personalities, but many find handing over the reins tricky.

4. Reward

Staff remuneration comes in many forms over and above a base rate of pay. By introducing staff reward programmes that are linked to performance and attributed to desired behaviours managers can get so much more from their team. If staff know that they have the opportunity to shine as part of a structured programme and be rewarded for their hard work then you’ll see productivity increase dramatically. What’s more, any additional spend on rewards through such a programme is easily justifiable if you get the correct measures in place before you start. These schemes are more than cost-neutral, they generate profitable activity for organisations of all shapes and sizes. Sometimes improving staff performance can require companies to spend a little, but get a whole lot!

5. Be Flexible

Studies have now shown that around a third of employees log on to check their work emails at around 7.17am. If a company can assist individuals to negotiate the day-to-day obstacles that lose an hour here, an hour there, then that trust will be repaid through increased effort. Helping a mum do the school run, an individual get their car serviced or someone work from home on a particular day whilst they wait for the gas man (who has helpfully promised to be there anytime between 7am and 6pm!), are huge plus points for a company. If the opportunity arose of a small pay increase in exchange for jumping ship and moving to another company, but that came with the risk of losing such privileges, how many of us would think again?

 

Tackle each of the five points above and you’ll be well on your way to becoming a great boss. And whilst you may not receive a thank you card on October 16th each year, the proof will be in the pudding as you see productivity increase and members of your team rise to the occasion.

 

 

John Sylvester

John is responsible for the motivation division of p&mm ltd and a Director on the board of the IPM. Specialising in developing, implementing and directing many large scale staff motivation, recognition and employee communications programmes.

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