October 16, 2012

National Boss’s Day

Tuesday, October 16 is National Boss’s Day. According to most sources Patricia Bays Haroski registered National Boss Day in 1958 with the US Chamber of Commerce while working for her father at the State Farm Insurance Company in Deerfield, Illinois. Aware of the challenges he faced in directing the company and managing employees, she wanted to show respect for his leadership. Haroski’s desire resulted in a national observation on her father’s birthday and in recent years has become an international celebration.  

According to Hallmark Corporation’s website, “ U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics research indicates that about one in five full-time workers has some level of supervisory responsibility over other employees, and about 12 percent of all full-time workers are directly responsible for managing other employees. Workplace surveys confirm that one of the most important elements of job satisfaction is a positive relationship between a supervisor and employee.”

Want to be the boss receiving a Hallmark greeting card?  Try these five tips.

Listen Listen Listen

Just like a restaurant’s success can depend on location, a supervisor’s success can depend on how well you hear your staff. What is an employee searching for when they approach you with issues? Are they looking for answers or a sounding board? Do they need conflict resolution training or someone to step in and take charge of a situation? If an employee isn’t doing a good job, an effective boss will ask questions and discover if it is a matter of training, motivation or stress.  

Genuine Praise

The vast majority of employees want to know they are doing well. I actually had a boss say, “You’ve still got a job don’t you?” as a way to affirm my work and no, she didn’t get a card. A compliment doesn’t have to be lengthy or take a lot of time. When you really mean it, a simple “Brilliant” or Well done” can brighten an employee’s day. Know your employees well enough to avoid embarrassment when handing out commendations; some people like public attention, others don’t.

Know How to Motivate People

Good management is making people feel good about what they are doing. Great bosses take the time to learn what encourages staff, as individuals and as a team, and puts what they learn into practice. Recognize who likes new challenges and who feels penalized when given projects. Who likes the “Way to Go” and who shies away from verbal pats on the back.

Be Respectable

Staff doesn’t have to love the boss; however, they must have respect for him/her. Be honest, trustworthy and observe the rules just like everyone else. Follow through. Show employees you are a person of your word. Be aware that everyone is watching and looking for best practices, examples and models.

Consultations & Confrontations

Refuse to wait for the annual “performance evaluation” before addressing concerns. Do it now and give employees an opportunity to correct behavior(s). Perhaps the rest of the staff is expecting a problem to be dealt with and don’t want to view their boss as ineffective. Engage in ongoing conversations to keep a finger on the pulse of your department. A good boss will embrace even the unpleasant aspects of a job. Employees look up to managers who have no tolerance for abusive clients or hostile sales representatives. Protect staff from unwarranted negativity.

If you don’t think these tips will work, you can always leave a blank card at the front desk as a hint.

Written by Susan Fix, The Applied Companies Community Liaison Partner. Fix has worked 15 years in staffing services performing outside sales, recruiting, permanent and temporary placement coordination, career counseling, customer service and social media/business.

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