Why is being a good boss so important? Research indicates that people today are deciding to stay with an employer for intangible reasons, like rewarding and meaningful work and relationships that are highly effective and personable. One study found that 50% of work-life satisfaction is determined by the relationship an employee has with his or her immediate boss. Overwhelmingly, employees decide on whether to stick with a job based on their relationships with their bosses. This claim is supported by a Gallup poll published in 1999 in which more than one million employees were surveyed over 25 years. To put the results of the poll succinctly, employees usually leave bosses, not organizations.

Luckily, when it comes to improvement, research also provides a guide map for bosses. Six categories can be said to comprise the numerous behaviors that a boss should exhibit:

  • Connecting People with Purpose
  • Encouraging Ownership
  • Focusing Efforts on Smart Work
  • Building Competence
  • Recognizing Achievements
  • Respecting the Individual

Connecting people with purpose can mean matching employees with work they like to do. Encouraging ownership could involve seeking employees’ input on how to accomplish a task. Sharing information early and creating purposeful agendas for meetings are two ways to focus efforts on smart work. By encouraging employees to seek out new learning opportunities, a boss can build competence. Tailoring the form of recognition to the person receiving it is an effective way to recognize achievements. Speaking up or taking action when you observe situations that leave employees feeling disrespected are prime actions that demonstrate respect for the individuals.

The common tread that runs through all of the categories is the ability to guide individual and group performance to achieve the organization’s goals. The extent to which bosses demonstrate these skills is the extent to which they are effective at:

  • Leading people
  • Providing employees with the opportunity to use their hands, hearts, and minds in pursuit of professional and personal goals
  • Creating a culture that is based on trust, respect, and fairness

Source: HRDQ Newsletter
Reprinted with permission from the HRDQ Training Resource Update, Copyright © 2005 by Organization Design and Development, Inc. All rights reserved. Published by HRDQ (2002 Renaissance Boulevard #100, King of Prussia, PA 19406-2756, 800.633.4533, www.hrdq.com.

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