Every boss likes to think they’re an inspiration to work for and a pleasure to work with. But the truth is that we don’t always get the direct feedback we need, or we don’t process it enough to realize if and where our management strategies need improvement. Meanwhile, the indirect feedback we receive (i.e., complaints, high employee turnover, and low morale) often goes unrecognized as the important indicator it is.
Not anymore. Below are 5 criteria of a great boss, plus a few tips just in case you want to up your management game (and your practice’s performance). Read through and see how you do!
1) You know your own strengths and weaknesses. A great boss has a good deal of self-awareness and a personal vision for their life and their business. A bad boss is not aware of their own leadership style, or where their own abilities fall short. As a result, they tend to hire people with similar limitations, and become easily frustrated.
Practice Tip: Want to be more self-aware? Ask for feedback from a few people you trust to tell you the truth and assure them there will be no backlash from their being candid with you. Better yet, accept blame when appropriate, and set the example of accountability for your team.
2) You give feedback, good and bad. A great boss is not afraid of confrontation, and can deliver praise as well as constructive feedback in a non-threatening way. Bad bosses tend to focus only on giving feedback when the employee doesn’t live up to their high expectations, and rarely, if ever, acknowledge when an employee has done well.
Practice Tip: Want to give better feedback? Make it about the situation, not the person. When you consistently offer constructive feedback, employees know where they stand, minimizing the resentment and distrust that leads to conflict. Likewise, when employees perform well, let them know their efforts are valued.
3) You have a sense of humor. Great bosses know how to have fun, and don’t take themselves too seriously. They’re serious about success, but take time to share a laugh, even when things get stressful or busy. Bad bosses focus only on what the employee brings to the practice (i.e. money), and don’t allow or encourage “frivolity” while they’re on the clock. Don’t be their best friend, but do include “fun” in your vision for the ideal team.
Practice Tip: Not having enough fun at work? Take a vacation. Making time for yourself away from work refreshes your attitude and your sense of humor. Likewise, encouraging employees to take their vacations can lead to a well-rested and contented team that calls out sick less often.
4) You are fair. Great bosses are not only consistent in their treatment of employees, they also make exceptions. A great boss finds the middle ground, creating and enforcing fair policies, and using sound and reasoned discretion when a compromise is warranted. Bad bosses hold the policy line no matter what; or equally as bad, let their employees take advantage of them by giving in whenever employees ask for anything.
Practice Tip: Balancing the needs of your business with the employee’s personal obligations and concerns can be difficult. To avoid discrimination claims, get the employee’s requests (such as leave of absence, extra time off, disability accommodation) in writing, and document the business reasons for your ultimate decision. Think of it as compromising on the condition of getting the results you need.
5)You care about your employee’s development. Great bosses want to see their team succeed, and show it by giving them the tools and training they need to do so. Bad bosses set expectations without guidance on how to achieve them, and either micromanage or fail to lead the employee throughout the process until the inevitable failure.
Practice Tip: Employees want to be challenged, and if they like where they work and feel valued, they will strive to give their best. The key is to stay in the game with them, checking in often on their progress, and being willing to change methods or redirect goals if the effort is there but results are lacking.
So how did you do? Are you a great boss already, or do you see a bit of room for improvement? Remember: management is a learning process, not a natural skill. But every step you make brings your whole team forward with you, and takes you closer to achieving your goals. If you’d like a little clarity or guidance on your overall management strategies or a tough employee issue, just call CEDR HR Solutions at 866-414-6056 or email [email protected].
About the author:
Paul Edwards is the CEO and Co-Founder of CEDR Solutions. Since 2006, CEDR has been the nation’s leading provider of individually customized dental office policy manuals and HR solutions, helping dentists successfully handle employee issues and safely navigate the complex and ever-changing employment law landscape. For more information or a free employee handbook evaluation, visit www.cedrsolutions.com.