Think of the worst supervisor or boss you ever had. Chances are someone comes immediately to mind. Why do you consider this person "the worst?" How did he or she act? How did this bad boss's approach affect your attitude and work effort? Did this person influence you to do your best?
Now, think of a situation where you had the best boss ever. (It's harder to identify a boss who shines, isn't it?) What was this person like, and what did he or she do differently? How did this person affect you and your work effort?
Did you want to do a better job for the best boss versus worst boss? Of course! Regrettably, it's far more likely that the majority of our work life has been spent reporting to bad bosses. Bad bosses continue to dominate the landscape of corporate America today. Despite the research on effective leadership and companies' profit and loss statements, bad bosses are an epidemic killing off employee productivity and creativity and company profit potential. It's a gloomy picture if we feel we can't alter it. But we can.
Knowing how dismal it can be to work for a bad boss, we can decide to be the good boss. And if we have a few rough edges (and don't we all), we can get them polished. Maybe you can become an exceptional leader.
I know what you're thinking… What about those awful bosses who get good results? Yes, it does seem that some managers do well in spite of the pitiful leadership practices. In fact, if you talk to enough people, you'll find poor bosses and good bosses can both achieve organizational objectives. The difference is in the "how" and what happens long-term. Lack of respect and poor relationships are weak fuel, leaving poor bosses with nothing to drive sustainable results. Results are unsustainable because poor bosses sap employees' commitment and positive emotion to invest their best in their work.
In other words, bad bosses' behavior does eventually catch up with them (or their organizations), but unfortunately for their victims-the employees-and, it doesn't seem to happen fast enough.
So how do you know whether you're a "bad" boss or a "good" boss?
Look at your results. The number one reason employees say they quit is because of unhappiness with their boss. Employees with bad bosses are four times more likely to leave than employees who believe they have good bosses.. Interviews in seven hundred companies of 2 million employees suggest that the productivity of employees depends on their relationship to their boss.
The worst bosses contribute to poor morale and bad attitudes, which lead to poor productivity, indifferent customer service, lower sales, reduced quality, and poorer overall financial results. They have employee turnover problems and often have to coerce or bribe employees to do things. Employees perform because they have to, not because they want to. They are like mercenary soldiers being paid to do the job. They aren't the spirited patriots fighting to protect their homes.
In big companies, poor bosses stand on every step of the corporate ladder. In smaller organizations, the owners or key executives are often the culprits. In fact, research from various suggests that there are many bad bosses out there.
- Eighty percent of employees say they get no respect at work.
- Less than 55 percent of Americans are satisfied with their jobs compared to 61.1 percent twenty years ago.
- Fifty-four percent of employees in lower performing companies are disengaged.
How do you start to become a better boss? If you want your team to be better you have to be a better leader. So, keep learning: read new leadership books, attend seminars and webinars, and get a personal coach. Do this consistently and apply new strategies immediately. This will be a great beginning to improving your performance, to helping employees effectively, and to achieving your goals.
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