This comes up frequently at leadership talks and training seminars: What makes a good boss?
Sure, there are a lot a traits people like in a boss. You could list a million things like generosity, understanding, humor or informality. But those are personality traits and I can’t teach personality. Trying to make someone into something they are not always produces a disingenuous product.
But there are two core components that employees want and can be learned by management.
People want to believe in the boss. They will willingly follow the leader who who knows what he is doing.
People want to be heard. If an employee has a suggestion to improve things at work, that employee wants to know he suggestion will be heard. This doesn’t mean listening is everything. Action is required on valid suggestions because that proves she was heard. And, that doesn’t mean giving a hearing to every gripe of every employee. Not every employee complaint is valid. Sometimes an employee has to be told that he is wrong, it’s his behavior in need of change, not the boss’s.
This might seem like an obvious, over simplistic post. Competence and ears. Big deal.
Now stop for a minute and think about the times you really had a problem with your boss.
Did you ever say, “he has no idea what he is doing?” Or “the woman is totally clueless”? Competence.
How about “I keep telling him but he never listens to me”? Or “I could fix that problem but she doesn’t want to hear it”? Even, “he’s got no idea how much I do. I’m totally off his radar.” Ears.
Neither of these highly desired characteristics require a massive personality change. Both competence and hearing can be learned.
Learn them. Teach them.