CEOs to managerial magicians share their top game-changing advice with you
Stanford professor Bob Sutton has written, in his 2010 book Good Boss, Bad Boss: “People in power tend to become self-centered and oblivious to what their followers need, do, and say.” He offers a simple way for managers to find out how their employees view them — $20 to any employee willing to tell them he/she has been a “jerk”.
While that, especially with the current exchange rates ($1 = Rs 60.43), sounds like an expensive way of getting yourself to becoming a better manager, several studies say it’s imperative. Even perks like health insurance and rewards systems mean nothing for productivity and loyalty if the boss is a bad leader, said a 2012 Harvard Business Review report.
Good bosses, on the other hand, lead employees to increase revenue. They don’t manage projects, they manage people.
Fortunately, turning over a new leaf, won’t cost you $20. All it needs, say our experts, is tweaking your behaviour to make the professional environment egalitarian.
Be one among equals says Ashish Hemrajani, CEO, BookMyShow
Ashish Hemrajani, who founded the e-ticketing platform in 1999 with two friends, started with a staff of 150. It dropped to six after the dotcom bust. The employee strength is now up to 300 across four cities. He says keeping the organisation horizontal worked for him.
“Everyone knows who the boss is. So, don’t behave like the boss. You are one among equals and the rules should be the same for all.” At Bookmyshow, designations aren’t reflected on visiting cards.
“A good boss,” he says, “is one who is responsible, humble, honest and works as hard as the next intern. Be generous and respectful.”
Bradley Owens, PhD, assistant professor of organisation and human resources at the University of Buffalo School of Management, helmed a study that said humble bosses are more effective. There’s a catch, however. “You can’t fake humility. You either genuinely want to grow and develop, or you don’t, and employees pick up on this,” the researches were quoted saying.
Be clear and emotionally intelligent says Lara Balsara, executive director, Madison World
Lack of direction causes confusion and uncertainty among employees. A good employee wants to deliver. What he needs is clear instructions on where he is headed. Therefore, when a manager does not clarify expectations problems emerge.
Balsara says it’s best to communicate these at the start. What are the deliverables, what processes should be adopted, when to raise red flags (very important), and deadlines. “This leaves little room for the ‘I didn’t know I was supposed to do this’ conversation later,” she adds.
Happy relationships aren’t a luxury but essential. More than 15 years ago, Daniel Goleman unveiled his influential theory of emotional intelligence determining a leader’s success more than intelligence or expertise. Balsara says, “Be empathetic and understanding to personal issues.” Is your staffer facing domestic or health trouble? Offer him time off or simply lend a sympathetic shoulder. Employees facing lack of motivation at work, perform better when a manager has heard them out and offered solutions.
Be responsible says Prasoon Pandey, director, Corcoise Films
What’s true for Spiderman is true for you as boss: with great power, comes great responsibility. As the person holding fort, it’s your call and decision that’s final. Pandey says, “You have to take the final call and be responsible for it, nothing more. So don’t take yourself too seriously. Don’t be afraid to fail. Be decisive.” A boss who does not remain accountable for his decisions, risks being seen as a coward and losing the respect of juniors.
You needn’t be nice, be fair says Virendra Kapoor, author, A Wonderful Boss
Here’s the good news: employees expect to find a good boss when they start a job. What this means, is that you just have to fit in. When faced with criticism, handle it maturely. Kapoor’s, who’s Bloomsbury publication is due for release, says, “Be responsive because if a boss does not respond, the front line chain gets blocked.” You needn’t bend over backwards to get people to like you. “You may need to take tough and unpleasant decisions, but if they are fair, no one minds. It’s when you are unreasonable that the tide changes.” As an after thought he offers, “And yes, try and keep your meetings short.”