Happy Valentines Day my loves! I hope everyone is or will be having not only a fantastic day but a day with special focus on yourself. That’s right, you heard it from me: Valentines Day can involve as many roses and love notes to our beloved ones as you want, if you don’t love yourself it just ain’t a day to celebrate! Speaking of love, how many of you actually love your boss – ok, maybe really like your boss (non-sexually speaking, of course!)? Or are you perhaps a boss (shout out to all my bosses out there!) or even a person of high rank that has to guide a team? Even if you don’t have a team around you at work, think about it: we all enjoy being the boss from time to time, be it at the office, in the family, in our relationships or with friends.
Today I want to speak to you about my top 10 habits to becoming the boss that everyone (yes, everyone!) actually loves.
Habit #1: Teach rather than command your team
If you want to be successful, you need your team to be successful – easy as that. If you want your team to be successful, you need to teach them. When we take on the role of a boss, we likely are doing it because we have a vision in mind and certain talents that have brought us this far. One mistake that I repeatedly see in the (finance) industry, is individuals (or whole teams) being commanded from doing one task to another but often not understanding what the whole picture is. Often times, I even see people overwhelmed with tasks because it is something completely new to them. If you have a strategy in mind, and want things done in a certain way, make sure to teach your people first. Teaching not only makes sure you get the right result afterwards, but it shows that you trust your people in learning your techniques and strengthens the bond you have with them.
Habit #2: Do NOT micromanage
This one goes hand in hand with habit 1. The most annoying trait is micromanaging everything – this does not give the impression of you trusting your employees or team and most likely they will only be irritated of you. In addition, micromanaging takes more time than it saves and needless to say that is the opposite of why you are working in a team!
Habit #3: Ask for help if you need it
Just because you are the boss does not mean that you can do it all! Quite frankly, you may not even want to do it all. I always say the more expertise you have in one field the more knowledge you will be lacking in some other field – you cannot be an expert in everything, and that is OK. You have a team for a reason and everyone has their strengths and weaknesses. If you ask for help it will not make you look less boss-like – in fact, people will appreciate that you are human (and one of them), too!
Habit #4: Offer help
Asking for help is no less important than offering help – because we all need help, remember? Make sure your team knows that they can always count on you to help them, to guide them, and that no one should be afraid to come to you if they are stuck. Offering help from time to time, especially when it comes to tedious work (such as writing thank you notes for clients having purchased your product) will most definitely be appreciated by your folks. It shows that you not only hand-down the tedious work but are ready to get your hands “dirty”, too!
Habit #5: Give honest feedback and point your team in the right direction
I think this is one of the hardest habits and yet, one of the most important. If you want your team not only to be good but to excel, if you want them to thrive and constantly evolve, you NEED to give them feedback. Now, feedback does not have to be only good or bad. Feedback should be given when someone has done outstanding work (tell them why it is outstanding and how it benefits you or the company) and feedback should be pointing your team in the right direction if the work they have done was not yet ideal. Being honest includes telling people what they did was not ideal or why you believe it was not their best work submitted – but feedback should never be bashing someone or making an individual feel stupid. Praise the work they have done and the effort they have put into it and help guide them into the right direction by explaining what you want to see and why it is important to include certain elements in the task.
Habit #6: Don’t forget to take a break – all of you!
When you are working on a project, especially when it is your project that you are watching slowly come alive, people usually want it all, as quickly as they can, taking the fast route and never really stopping or slowing down. That is fully understandable and I think everyone would want that same pathway. However (here it comes!), it really doesn’t work that way. For one, the fast route is often one that leaves behind certain people or elements that you may miss later on and that most likely would’ve been helpful when the first real problem arises. Secondly, and hopefully not surprisingly: humans are not machines. Now, you may be laughing at this, thinking it is obvious, but let me tell you this: I have learnt that many people think of their teams as assets, as machines that can work day and night, are available 24/7 and people that have no life outside of work. Guess what? That is a majorly wrong perception and anyone that thinks like that should be shook awake!
Remember, the average human can concentrate on a task well for 10-20 minutes – maybe even up to an hour if they are really focused and really loving what they are doing. But with time comes unfocus-ness (is that even a word?) – basically, it is becoming harder to focus with time. Allow yourself and your team a break here and there. You may raise an eyebrow if they get up after an hour for a coffee and after another hour for the bathroom, but imagine yourself in the situation and think about how often you need to re-focus to get a task done. Although most of us may not need to use the loo every hour, most people do tend to wander away with their minds after 20 minutes or so. A small break here and there can lead to amazing results. Even better, when your timeline allows for it, why don’t you take your team out for a lunch (maybe an hour longer than usual), go to the park for a walk in the sunshine for 20 minutes, chit-chat about the latest family gossip or sit-down and play a card game. Your team will not only appreciate the break but also you!
Habit #7: Set goals together
You may already know the task and exactly what you are thriving for, but including your team in defining the goal or even how to get there, will do wonders! Even if you exactly know the goal and what the end-product should look like, there is always room to wiggle when it comes to the process. The more you involve your team and the more they feel part of the goal-setting, the more likely they will be enjoying the process – trust me. Also, you may be surprised how creative your team can be and perhaps even elevate that perfect product you had in mind originally!
Habit #8: Acknowledge your team both at work and in private
Running solo has brought most of us nowhere. In fact, even when you are your own boss you most likely have received ideas from friends, motivation from your family or spouse perhaps or you have the most wonderful team that backs you up and places everything in a neat presentation for you. Whatever it is that someone has done to help you, be it small or big, remember to acknowledge it. Especially at work, if your team sees you not seeking self-glory but acknowledging the work of others, you will be a boss that everyone loves! When it comes to recognising individuals for their contributions, you should not only do it at work but also in private. Why so you ask? Well, because this isn’t just a role play for work but something that will make you feel and look more professional (and kinder) to everyone – be it your family, friends, spouse, bff or professional network. It also makes people feel better about themselves when they recognise it’s OK to receive help from others.
Habit #9: Adapt your management style to each individual
Whether you are working with or managing a team with 2, 10 or 20 people, remember that everyone is individual and most likely will need individual advise and management. You may need to be more vague with one person to spark their creativity whilst others need step-by-step instructions. Those in marketing may need different management than those in the sales and front office vs. those that are writing computer codes in the backend. The more you can respond to people’s individual needs, the more likely you will be getting better results – and the more your team will appreciate and love you; even more for thinking of them both as a team and as individuals!
Habit #10: Celebrate your success
You’ve had a success? Congratulations – it is now time to celebrate! Remember what I said about never running the solo lane but instead having a great team behind you to help you achieve your goals faster, easier and more effective? Well, now again is the time to recognise your team and celebrate with them together (and don’t just run off to buy yourself that new little tech-thing you’ve been eyeing!). Be it a small success such as finally having solved a problem that was keeping you from continuing on the big project or something big like launching a new product – celebrating each little success will lead to bonding even more with your team. Whether you pop a bottle of champagne at work, bring everyone croissants in the morning, invite everyone to a lunch, do a team event or give everyone a Friday afternoon off – the team will appreciate it (and work even harder next time)!
So here you have it: these were my top 10 habits to becoming the boss that everyone loves! And remember, these habits can be applied not only at work, but also in your private life concerning the family, friends and loved ones.
Good luck on becoming the best boss ever!