Bosses or supervisors are usually bête noire or disliked class in eyes of most employees. Everywhere you would come across phrases like – an employee does not leave a company; but leaves because of boss or supervisor! On the other hand, there is lot of material, training, coaching and development programs across world to improve quality of supervision (or bossism); yet it continues to be a perennial problem and poorly perceived.
Are bosses getting well prepared before taking up responsibilities?
Most organizations and their HR departments claim to have good learning and development programs to prepare future leaders (in real terms, future bosses); but these programs are more aimed at imparting information rather than bringing a change in character or behavior of potential candidates! Organizations do not have any process in place to evaluate the change, which such programs are able to bring about in the concerned candidate to make him/her a better supervisor. Usual refrain is once one undergoes the program/s, he/she is deemed to be qualified. This is a myth; but most organizations have been living with it!
Another issue is that selection process for supervisors is not sound. Very often selection criteria or compulsions are:
- Length of experience.
- Seniority by age.
- Vacant slot has to be filled.
- Desire to retain a resigning employee and hence, under constraint he/she is promoted.
- Employee is a blue eyed boy of management, regardless of merit.
Above criteria don’t bear merit, so would be the class of boss or supervisor in these cases, considered for promotion.
If such bosses/supervisors perform badly, there is no point blaming them. It is actually a failure of higher management and systems.
It is imperative that organizations institute an effective program to prepare employees and promote desired changes in their behavior, before they take-up position of a supervisor/boss.
Need of paradigm shift!
Roles and responsibilities of bosses are oriented towards functions (physical) and figures in most companies. Focus really needs to shift to people and performance! When this is done, a radical shift can come in performance of bosses and perceptions, which employees carry about them.
Here below are 7x “Must-to-Do” points for bosses and top management to implement:
- Knowing correct definition of Empowerment
To state that “this is one area, very poorly understood” is an understatement. It is not about assigning work or responsibilities to sub-ordinates. It is that + authorizing them to take decisions, giving guidance and direction how to do that, laying down expectations of end results, allowing them to make mistakes and help them to learn from same, rather than holding them guilty.
- Be of Help; not Hurt
It is common for bosses to shout, sulk and issue sermons to sub-ordinates, when they are not meeting their expectations, despite good efforts! That never helps anyone – neither boss nor employees.
Worst thing that many bosses do is to pick prejudices against employee/s and resort to reprisal openly or subtly. Nothing can justify such actions!
Bosses must don “Can I help you?” attitude towards employees. It would make wonders!
- Replace Ego by Empathy
When employee goes up to become a boss, what is most likely to go up is his/her Ego! This happens due to lack of proper learning or mentoring.
Ego would not allow bosses to align with employees; instead alienate!!
Empathy does not come overnight! It has to be harnessed.
- Be a role Model!
For employees, Boss is a role model. But, when Boss is not able to play role of a model, employees would react and rebel – may not be vocally but at least in their mind and behavior. That’s when a boss becomes their bête noire!
It is amazing to know how bosses impact behavior of their employees! I have witnessed in several companies that if a boss is reasonable, employees tend to be congenial and co-operative. Reverse happens, if boss is toxic. It is incredible to see how employees, who work closely with their boss, follow his/her style to say Hello or greet people!
As role model, a boss really needs to shun all negativities.
- Keeping a close Eye on those holding promise and potential; but don’t make them blue Eyed
A boss can do irreparable damage to his/her relationship with employees, if differentiation and discrimination is done based upon his/her liking or disliking.
- Hold hands of weaker
Bosses normally resort to bashing employees having weaker performance. Once an employee is hired through a conscious decision, companies must consider it obligatory to do all what it should to make that employee perform, before writing him/her off! The only way it can happen is when bosses would encourage holding hands of the weaker and work out a program to make them stronger.
Those, who are already strong, would swim in any case and don’t require kind of support, weaker ones need!
- “Taking decisions on career” are like “shaping destiny” of employees!
It is very crucial for a boss to reckon that when he/she sits on annual appraisal/consideration or taking decision on career path of employees, he/she is actually shaping their destiny, carving hopes and happiness or despair and disappointment of their families. I am not advocating pacifist approach; but “pure prudency and no partiality”!
A boss can bet for the best from employees, if he/she bats for the paradigm shifts!