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Good boss, bad boss: Managing employees with direction and compassion

Life is tough when you’re in charge. Despite the privileges and supposed power that high-level corporate positions have, there are also trials that are eminent in these sorts of roles.

One difficulty in particular is sustaining good relationships with your colleagues and employees while still being firm enough to run a well-functioning business.

If you are in any sort of management position, you know how difficult this can be. You want your employees to like you, but you definitely want them to respect you. You need to correct them when they’re wrong but also praise them when they’re right. The balance is tricky to find and even tougher to maintain, but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible.

These simple tips may help guide you on your path towards some sort of middle-ground, towards a management style that both you and your employees can feel good about.

Leave them to it, don’t micromanage. Employees whose every move is being supervised may question their capability in the position and ultimately end up less successful as a result. Not only does this put employees under unnecessary stress, it may even turn those questions of capability into a self-fulfilling prophecy. Establishing appropriate benchmarks and reviewing them periodically with an employee will provide opportunities for coaching and mentoring if there is a problem.

Lift them up before introducing criticisms. We have all heard of the, “compliment sandwich,” saying one nice thing before and after you share something negative. You don’t have to be quite so methodical about it in the workplace, but it is beneficial to give verbal recognition for the positive progress employees make rather than just any negatives that may occur. It’s easy to only notice or shed light on the bad, but appreciating the good goes a long way.

Make it personal. As much as we would love all employees to be 100% committed to the success of the company, that’s simply not the case. The next best solution is to give your employees incentives to work harder. That doesn’t mean bribery, coercion, or manipulation. What it may mean is setting personal growth guidelines or targets so that the employee feels they have specific areas to improve upon. Also try to drive home reasons why the success of the company may benefit that person specifically, such as increased salary or promotion.

If you must scold or criticize, do it privately. The last thing someone wants when they make a mistake is for the whole office to get wind of it. Rather than calling someone out publicly for a faux pas, pull him or her aside to discuss it directly. Not only will they respond better, but you can also have a constructive conversation about how to avoid similar errors in the future. Such conversations are harder to have when the person is embarrassed or defensive for being shamed in front of others.

Be logical and overly communicative. When something goes wrong, never express the issue when your emotions are high, always wait until you can calmly and logically explain to those responsible why the problem matters. Employees don’t always know all the ins and outs of a company outside of their own role, so they may not fully understand why their mistakes can be so impactful until someone explains it to them.

Of course, a boss cannot be best friends with all of their employees, and they must prioritize the overall well-being of the company, but happy employees make for a happy and successful business. If you strive for a management style that takes employee needs and feelings into account, your workplace will benefit.




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