How to be popular with your team
It’s hard for a boss to be everyone’s friend – and in reality, it probably wouldn’t be a good idea. The phrase “it’s better to be respected than liked” certainly applies to management! However, there are a few things you can do to ensure a happy working relationship with your staff.
Open door: Employees want to feel that their boss will listen to their concerns and take them seriously. Make sure it is clear that you are available for difficult conversations – not just in a quick two-minute conversation in a corridor between appointments, but a proper chat when they can take all the time they need. This might have to be outside normal working hours, but if you deal with any existing problems effectively, you’ll find you don’t often have to stay behind to talk about new ones.
Meetings: Staff will feel more loyal to you and the business if they are involved in its progress. Have regular team meetings and open forums for them to share their ideas, and keep them informal. A stiff, tense meeting is no encouragement to a nervous employee to speak, no matter how brilliant their suggestion.
Lead by example: Being on time, always having a positive attitude and following the correct procedures are just a few of the things you probably expect from your staff. However, you can only expect these things if you are doing them yourself. Why should a receptionist be punctual if her boss is always late back from lunch?
Let your hair down: Employees like to see a bit of humanity in their managers. Something as simple as talking about a television programme over your morning coffee can remind your staff you are a real person, while an occasional social event for all the staff can show them how much fun you are – especially if you cover the costs!
… But don’t go too far: Don’t be tempted to muscle in on other people’s social lives. It’s natural for groups of employees to socialise together occasionally, but having to invite the boss can make things awkward as everyone feels they have to be on their best behaviour. Have a few selected dates in the diary for the whole company to go out together – a Christmas meal, a summer party and perhaps one or two others – but leave it at that. And above all, remember you still have to command respect come Monday morning, so don’t get carried away.
It’s about finding the right balance between being a decisive boss and an approachable boss. Five top tips eg open door policy, regular meetings where you listen to their ideas, not troubling them with problems which they don’t need to know about, setting a good example, and not asking them to do anything which you wouldn’t be prepared to do yourself.
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