When you’re put in charge for the first time, suddenly you’re responsible for the actions of others. If something goes wrong, it’s on you. How can you not only refrain from letting the power go to your head, but be an awesome boss too?
If you’ve never been someone’s boss before, odds are you want to do a good job. If you have been a boss, there are always areas you can improve upon. Being a boss doesn’t mean getting to boss others around, or trying to get everyone to like you. It means that you’re in charge of making sure those under you are doing the best job possible.
Being a woman boss has its own set of challenges. If you’re too nice, they look at you like a pushover and won’t respect you. If you’re too harsh, well, then you’re a total bitch. Creating a balance between firm, fair and fun can be quite difficult, especially when you’ve never managed anyone before.
There are many different management styles out there, but which is the most effective? Which suits you? These nine tips will find you on the fast track to being an awesome and effective boss.
Empower vs. Micromanage
Do you enjoy having someone hover over your shoulder, asking you what you’re working on every five minutes? Yeah, I didn’t think so. When you micromanage or are constantly on top of your team, you create an environment of bitterness, hostility and you essentially stifle them.
In order to have the most productive team possible, you want them to be happy. Loosen your grip on the leash a bit. Ask them for their input and ideas. Allow them to contribute to the creative process and assist in solving problems—rather than just assigning tasks. They will work harder knowing that their input matters.
Remove Your Ego
Don’t disregard someone because you outrank them. You may not always have the best, most efficient way of going about things. If one of your employees has an idea that’s better than yours, swallow that pride and go with it! You don’t want to get trapped in the mindset that you know everything. You can learn something from everyone, no matter what your age or how smart you are.
Don’t be afraid to own your shit either. If you screw up, tell them—and then tell them how you plan to fix it. They’ll respect you that much more for being real and will learn to own up to their mistakes and create solutions to in order to fix them.
Nothing makes a boss harder to please than when they give unclear directives. If there are specific things you want delivered, you must be specific. Make sure they understand everything that is expected of them — if there is room for creative license, say so. If not, make sure they know that. Also, give accurate and attainable deadlines so that the assigned tasks are accomplished in time for when you need them. Always give yourself time to look everything over before passing along to your boss, or putting it out there for outside eyes to see.
Managing others will soon lead you to see that everyone responds to criticism differently. While it’s “fair” to treat everyone the same, you will not get the best out of your team if you give everyone cookie cutter treatment.
Some people need tough love. They need you to call them out and demand better. Others may completely retreat into their shell if you do that. They may require a softer touch. It takes some time to learn how everyone reacts and responds, but a good boss is intuitive and eventually learns what makes each of their team members tick.
Give them freely. If a job was done well, make sure everyone involved knows it. Saying thank you and dishing out “Atta girls” often, makes you pleasant to work for. Your employees will feel appreciated and will want to work harder for you.
You may have zero control over the payroll, and your leash may be short when giving out raises and that’s understandable. But if you have control over this, make sure you pay people their true worth. This is part of making people feel appreciated. If they sense you’re screwing them over on purpose or you aren’t willing to be competitive, they’ll feel expendable and may not care if they do a good job or not.
Lead by Example
Toss the “Do as I say, not as I do” adage out the window. You won’t be respected if you don’t follow your own rules. If you want your team to act a certain way, you have to show them. If you want them to work long hours, you need to as well. Show them that you’re willing to get your hands dirty and that you aren’t better than them just because you’re their boss.
Make It Fun
While work is “serious,” no one wants to work in a miserable environment. The best bosses make work a fun environment. So whether you call in a food truck for lunch once in awhile, play games to get their brains pumping, or just encourage a light, playful atmosphere, you will increase morale and overall production.
Do you have someone who is just awesome? Champion them, mentor them and help them push their career along. Pass on your praise to the higher ups and write great performance reviews for them. Too many bosses are afraid their predecessors will surpass them if they build them up when, in reality, you look like you’re doing a great job because the people under you are thriving.
Great employees make you look good. After all, your success depends on theirs.
*This article was first published in the June 2014 issue of Indie Chick Magazine.
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