Horrible bosses are not just urban legends. They exist in real life and could be found in different offices all over the world. So to avoid being a part of office horror stories, many managers try to do their best to be a ‘cool’ boss. But in doing so, some may face another problem—they may not be taken seriously.
To avoid that, here are some ways to find the right balance between being a boss that everyone respects and adores:
1. Be considerate.
An inflexible boss is a nightmare for employees. The one who couldn’t sympathize that his or her employees have family emergencies to take care of, or might have a doctor’s appointment, even when they prove to be reliable and present 99.9 percent of the time. You want a boss that is reasonable, considerate and who can cut you some slack when you need it.
However, a no-rules workplace will not solve that dilemma. Rules are there for a reason—to set expectations and guidelines for a productive and efficient working environment. Managers should find a balance between the two.
Make sure that the rules of the office are explained clearly right from the beginning. You should be open to employee’s suggestions for issues or if something could work better. If they reach out to you about something pressing, take the time to listen and come to an arrangement that will benefit them, without having to compromise workplace productivity. That’s a win-win situation right there.
2. Build bridges.
It’s a common misconception that in order to be taken seriously, managers should distance themselves from the team and not talk about their personal lives in the office. But don’t you think your employees will be inspired to work hard to work for a shell of a person who only shows up to give tasks?
Open yourself up to them. Share funny anecdotes or experiences that are entertaining or inspiring. You can even tell them how bad the traffic was on your way to work. Come drink or Karaoke with them on Fridays. These things will make you seem relatable and human—gaining their trust and ultimately, their loyalty.
While you can get chummy and friendly with your employees, set the fine line between being the manager and your employees’ best friend. This is to remind them that there are still boundaries between you and there is work to be done.
It will also establish what they can expect from their supervisors since unpredictable bosses usually rattle a workplace. Instead of a part-time serious boss, part-time BFF, try to be a friendly, approachable boss at all times.
3. Be appreciative.
Be generous in giving praises to your employees after a job well done. Who doesn’t want their hard work noticed and appreciated by people they look up to?
But remember that praises and compliments are not the only things employees want. They also want to learn and improve so give opportunities for them to enhance their skills and learn new things. Not only will these gestures turn them into valuable assets of the company, they will also get the impression that they are valued—and all of these will only go back to how they see you as a boss and in the quality of work they do.
4. Provide constructive criticisms.
Alongside compliments, you should also tell your employees areas for improvement. If you don’t do that, they will be in the dark. It will be challenging for them to know and develop the skills that will improve their performance. In turn, you will get frustrated as they stay longer in the company and not improve. It will be hard on both parties, but it will be beneficial in the long run.
Being authoritative and being liked by your employees at the same time is no small feat. It takes a lot of effort and time to find that balance. But know that it’s possible to be liked by your employees and be authoritative. Just remember to put your role as a manager first, and then try to be the kind of person you would want to work for.
For more advice on office management and leadership, visit the PhilLife website.