Four Ways to Be a Better Boss

Small Business

New research reveals what workers want from their managers

What makes a good boss? Staffing and HR services firm Randstad has unveiled new research on what 2,257 American workers think of their supervisors.

“With the economy continuing to improve and the job market showing promise, many business leaders are increasingly focused on retaining their best and brightest employees, and studies show that a job-deciding factor for many workers is the type of relationship they have with their boss,” says Michelle Prince, SVP, talent management, Randstad North America. “Healthy manager-employee relationships are built on clear communication, trust and respect. When all of these factors are in place, the result can lead to a harmonious, productive work environment.”

Randstad’s research reveals four dynamics that can impact the boss/employee relationship:

1. Be attentive. A majority (74%) of respondents said their managers value their opinions, with 76% of men agreeing with this statement, compared to 71% of women. Also, 59% of workers said their efforts are recognized and valued, with 61% of men agreeing with this statement, compared to 56% of women.

Tip: When your workers are engaged and invested in the future of your business, they speak up and want to play an active role in decision-making. Nurture this enthusiasm by not only listening to your workers but implementing their ideas when possible.

2. Be inspiring. More than half (55%) of all survey respondents said they feel inspired by their managers. Among generational groups, Baby Boomers were the least inspired by their bosses (51%) compared to Gen X (56%) and Gen Y (60%) workers. Along gender lines, men were more inspired by their bosses than women (57% versus 51%).

Tip: With four generations working side-by-side in the workplace, it’s becoming more of a challenge to motivate different age groups with varying goals, expectations, and work habits. Treat each employee as an individual with unique needs and expectations, and be sure to explain how each worker’s everyday contributions connect to overall business goals.

3. Be an advocate: When asked if they aspire to have their manager’s position, about four in 10 (39%) of all survey respondents agreed with this statement. More than half (53%) of Gen Y workers said they aspire to have their manager’s job, compared to Gen X (44%) and Baby Boomer (28%) workers. Similarly, when asked if they felt that they could do a better job than their boss, close to half (48%) of all respondents agreed with this statement, with Gen Y and Gen X being the most confident at 54% and 50%, respectively, compared to Baby Boomers (43%).

Tip: With a results-oriented mindset, Gen Y workers tend to be on the fast track to leadership and generally don’t adhere to concepts like tenure and seniority. Find out your employees’ career goals and be an advocate for high-performing employees who want to rise quickly through the ranks or continue to develop expertise in their current role.

4. Be accessible and approachable: A majority (72%) of employees said their boss was usually accessible throughout the day, with 75% of men agreeing with this statement, compared to 68% of women.

Tip: As a boss, the key to establishing good accessibility with your employees is finding out what method of communication works best, especially in today’s more virtual work environment. Whether it’s regular updates via email, regular one-on-one meetings, a shared project management tool, or weekly status meetings, figure out the best approach to ensure you’re an accessible, approachable manager.

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