To be a Better Boss: A resolution to improve your employee engagement

By Adam Robinson,
January 9, 2013

Ok, that’s it; we’ve heard enough about how 2013 will bring with it a fresh start. Let’s be real – the only real difference between last year and 2013 is that you ended 2012 feeling great and woke up in the new year with a terrible headache. 

Sure, vowing to go to the gym everyday is a nice thought, but are you really going to do that? If you’re going to make a resolution, it should be something of value, something that you will follow through with. And it doesn’t just have to be a personal goal, it can (and should) be something that impacts those around you. 

So maybe we’re a bit late to the resolution party, but that doesn’t mean it’s too late to at least consider our advice. For all of you owners, supervisors and managers reading this post, here’s a resolution to consider: Become a better boss. recently put out an article about 10 Horrible Excuses for Being a Lousy Boss. We thought it would be a good idea to look at a few and figure out how they can be turned around.

“I don’t get paid enough to deal with this.”

We won’t argue, many leaders are under-compensated. But your employees probably aren’t getting paid enough to deal with your complaining and lack of support on top of their job duties. 

Rather than making your employees feel under-appreciated, sit down and help them resolve the problem at hand. Is a new hire struggling to grasp the software programs your company uses and no one has been able to sufficiently help them? Well take an hour to review the programs with your employee. Yes, it’s time consuming, but it sure beats getting an email from that person every five minutes asking how to do something. 

That time, no matter how long you spend with an employee, is much appreciated. It shows that you care about that employee and their success. Plus, when you’re working alongside your employees, it creates a much better work environment for everyone.

“I shouldn’t need to praise people for doing their jobs.”

Of course you should expect your employees to do their job; and if they’re not, something is wrong. But for those who are doing their jobs, and doing it well, you should absolutely give them recognition. 

I don’t mean to compare your employees to dogs, but I’m going to. When training a puppy to do “his business” outside rather than in the living room, you give him a treat. Why? Because dogs are food-motivated. They’ll start to recognize that anytime they use the bathroom outside, they get a treat. The same goes for your employees. When you ask them to take on another project, and they complete it to the best of their abilities, recognizing that person encourages similar behaviors in the future. You can always reward them with food too  (none of us Hireologists will ever pass up a donought), but make sure you first verbally recognize their efforts.

“My employees work better when I leave them alone.”

Are you sure you just don’t mean quicker? 

Don’t neglect your employees. You are there for a reason, and while babysitting is not that reason, you should still have a large presence within the team. This is in no way saying that you should micro-manage them, but checking in to answer any questions and provide fresh insight is crucial to the success of your team.

They may get projects done quicker when you’re not around, but I guarantee that quality is lacking in comparison to projects in which you were available to provide support.

Being a good owner/manager/supervisor isn’t easy. But you’re in that position for a reason, because you have the skills to lead your team to success. As cheesey as it sounds, be the boss that you would want to work for. 

So you have a stellar team, but how do you keep them around? We’ve got the answers here:

About the Author

Adam co-founded Hireology with the mission to help growing companies make better hiring decisions through data and better technology. Adam is passionate about entrepreneurship, donating time to a number of organizations that support the entrepreneurial cause. Adam completed his undergraduate study at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and received his MBA from DePaul University in Chicago, IL.

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