Sunday, May 19, 2013

Surprising Secrets (or maybe not)

Just read an article on LinkedIn (I think it was written by someone half my age ... but lately, everyone seems to be half my age). Okay, truth is I was bored and looking for inner meaning in my life. Isn't that why people read this stuff?

This article was called: "Surprising Secrets of Truly Great Bosses". It completely reverses all the things you have ever learned about good management. Get it? Me either ... except that it gets people to read your article, I guess.

Anyway ... I put my own spin at the end of each poignant statement:

1. They put the customer second.

When managers preach and practice the longstanding axiom to put the customer first, they overlook their employees, who are the people actually responsible for creating and nurturing the customer experience.

Customers can immediately sense when the employees of the firms from which they buy are miserable, overworked, or under trained. Truly great bosses concentrate on making certain that their employees are happy, healthy and can do the work required.

( Therefore ... if your employees are overworked and don't particularly want to wait on customers or they haven't been trained on how to be nice to people, give them a little more time off with pay and make their lives less miserable ... it will ultimately make you a better boss and your customers will love it).

2. They don't manage the bottom line.

The "bottom line"--your quarterly or yearly numbers--only represents the history of what's happened, so focusing on it is like trying to drive a car while looking in the rear-view mirror.

Truly great bosses know that the only way to get good numbers in the future is to keep your attention on what's going on right now in your market and industry and the activities that your employees are undertaking to take advantage of the present reality.

(Who really cares whether you were successful last month? As long as your employees are happy. By the way, the truck that is barreling down on you that you can't see in the rear view mirror will only push you further ahead.)

3. They celebrate the tough times.

It's easy to have great morale when a company is successful, but when times are tough, not so much. Worst case, you can get a "chicken or egg" situation where everyone is waiting for things to improve, with decreasing hope that they actually will.

Ironically, it's when things are difficult that you're most likely to have breakthroughs--but only if people keep their spirits up. That's when truly great bosses figure out how to make work fun and keep their people happy.

(If your numbers are down ... it's time to celebrate. What better way to celebrate than have a party ... with the money that you don't have! I think your staff will totally understand when there is nothing left to give them when times are better.)

4. They have more questions than answers.

Many managers think that their job is to know all the answers--and provide them to their employees as frequently as possible. However, when managers provide all the answers, they rob their employees of the opportunity to think and grow.

While experience has value, people can't learn when that wisdom is presented on a platter or forced down their throat. That's why great bosses ask questions that will spark, in the employee's own mind, the thought processes that will make that employee successful.

(Personally I like a manager who has questions ... just not crazy about the ones that have no answers.)

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