Recently, HBR published an article titled “What Amazing Bosses Do Differently.” Though it doesn’t address many of the changes that have taken place over recent years that have changed the way we work, it makes many great points about what leaders need to do today in order to have happy employees, productive teams, and therefore a stable, thriving business.
Here’s my take on some of the critical points.
Individuals, not teams. Sometimes group meetings need to happen. It’s the most efficient way to get one message out to more than one person. But beyond that, take extra care to make sure you are treating your employees as individuals rather than members of a team or executors of a project.
Do your work. Employees need to have a sense that, more than keeping the ship afloat or carefully controlling the rudder, you are paddling like a madman or woman. Be there in the trenches, and whatever sort of work you have on your plate, go after it with gusto. Leave no doubt about your commitment and work ethic. Go to work every day with the intention of being the example.
Be flexible. Having a vision is great, and being committed to it even better yet. But don’t forget to leave room for innovation. Improvements in process can come from every level of the organization, even a casual observation from someone on the outside can lead you to an epiphany that changes things in a big way. Don’t close yourself off to these kinds of conversations, and make sure you encourage them, implicitly or explicitly.
When you bring these three behaviors into focus, you have a blueprint for being a great boss. At a time when job security means less than ever before, solopreneurs are becoming more prevalent, and small businesses are disrupting legacy players, it’s even more difficult to keep great employees.
Institutionalizing behaviors like these will go a long way towards making your company one that top talent is willing to fight to be a part of.