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Your employees would like for you to be a better boss in 2013 It is, as some say, “the most wonderful time of the year.” While workers look forward to festive parties and Holiday gifts, there is one present organizations can provide that rises to the top of the heap. No, it isn’t the latest computing tablet or a bigger and better game station. By far, the best gift to an employee, anytime during the year, is to have a really great boss. Indeed, we join those who argue that we should enshrine this wish as item #1 on the employee’s bill of rights—the right to work with a competent boss. Contributor Kare Anderson has noted this issue as well in her recent post Guess What Employees Want Most? In order to take a closer look at the “best bosses,” my business partner Joe Folkman recently analyzed 360-degree feedback data for some 45,000 leaders. We were struck with the wide variation in perceptions. Employees viewed some bosses as amazing leaders while others were, in a word, terrible. For many of those who needed improvement, the task seemed impossible. Yet our data also showed that even leaders who have received extremely negative ratings can change. In general, bosses received the lowest feedback from their peers. Both their own manager and their direct reports gave them higher marks than their direct peers. What does this mean? It is clear these leaders are putting the majority of their energy into managing up and sideways, and to a large degree are ignoring their peers. The graph below shows the overall leadership effectiveness ratings for the best versus the worst leaders.
Inspire Team Member to High Performance. These leaders carved out time for . These are the behaviors we have empirically found that most powerfully define the leaders who received the highest scores from their direct reports. Behaviors Influencing the Way Subordinates Perceive Their Boss 1. we examine the differences in how direct reports rated the leaders on 49 leadership behaviors to understand which behaviors showed the most substantial differences between the worst and the best bosses. They excelled at creating a vibrant. reasonably specific view of the future. This was not surprising because this competency is also ranked as the most important competency by direct reports. The number one most significant factor that separates the direct reports who are most satisfied from those who are least satisfied is the leader’s ability to inspire and motivate others. 2. Make Work an Opportunity to Learn. They reminded team members of the vision they were helping to accomplish and how their work contributed to that vision.In this table. Let me emphasize that the following recommendations are not merely our opinions or beliefs. These bosses knew what their subordinates aspired to do in the organization. The best bosses are highly focused on finding developmental opportunities for all team members. 3. Focus on the Big Picture. Inspiring leaders have a high level of energy and the ability to inspire others to new levels of effort and performance. The best bosses were seen by their subordinates to be able to maintain a clear perspective between the overall picture and the details.
these eight behaviors were extremely focused on the leader’s role and relationship with those who report to them. remember. The best bosses find ways to stay in touch with issues and concerns of individuals in the work group. Pick one of the behaviors above and turn it into strength. We believe leaders need to manage their peers and their bosses professionally and responsibly. you should ask them to do less. Demonstrate Concern for Team Members. The bosses who dedicated their limited time to developing others this year not only improved their relationships with employees. listen attentively to their issues and concerns and ask thought provoking questions. Ask Team Members to Stretch. The best bosses insisted that team members cooperate rather than compete. but at the end of day. When direct reports were learning new skills they found their jobs much more satisfying. Communicate. Conflict within a team apparently has a very negative impact on direct reports. don’t push them too hard. Resolve Conflicts and Insist on Cooperation. they are careful to not excessively encroach on their subordinates’ personal lives. The truth is that the most highly rated leaders ask their team members to stretch for goals that go beyond what they originally thought possible.. 7. They constantly strive to be good examples. While they are not reluctant to establish challenging goals. Our research shows conclusively that when direct reports accomplish difficult goals. Walk Your Talk. Communicate. that person is not a good boss. 4. The final critical element is that the best bosses are excellent role models. In other words. 6. If someone does not do that well. As you contemplate your Holiday gifts this year. It also diminishes overall performance. Allowing conflict to go unresolved frustrates team members. thereby reducing productivity. They would not ask team members to do something they themselves wouldn’t do. it’s not too late to strive to be the “best boss”. They allocated work assignments based on the developmental needs of their subordinates. their job satisfaction increases. leadership is fundamentally about how you treat those you are leading. 5. Communicate.. 8.developmental opportunities and were willing to fund their subordinates’ attendance at formal development programs. As we would expect. People want to make a difference and they need bosses who challenge and encourage them. but also increased the productivity and profitability of their organizations. We promise it will be the best gift your employees and organization could receive. The best bosses keep direct reports well informed. Some leaders are of the opinion that in order to get direct reports to have greater fondness for you. They balance the need to deliver results with the personal needs of all direct reports. .
1997). 1993) and Keeping Teams on Track (Irwin Professional Publishing. In 2009. consultant and executive coach. 1996). He is the author of two books on productivity improvement: Not just for CEO's – Sure-Fire Success Secrets for the Leader in Each of Us (Irwin Professional Publishing. 2002) and Handbook for Leaders (McGraw-Hill 2004). learning. productivity. ResultsBased Leadership. training and measurement. Leading Teams (Irwin Professional Publishing. He is the co-author of four books on leadership.By Jack Zenger John H. and is a highly respected and sought after speaker. "Jack" Zenger is the co-founder and CEO of Zenger Folkman. 1996). Jack has authored or co-authored hundreds of articles on leadership. and Making 2 + 2 = 5: 22 Action Steps to Boost Productivity (Irwin. Self-Directed Work Teams: The New American Challenge (Irwin Professional Publishing. (Harvard Business School Press. 1999) voted by SHRM as the Best Business Book in the year 2000. . the best-selling The Extraordinary Leader: Turning Good Managers into Great Leaders (McGraw-Hill. He is considered a world expert in the field of leadership development. leadership development programs and implementation software for organizational effectiveness initiatives. Jack released The Inspiring Leader: Unlocking the Secrets of How Extraordinary Leaders Motivate (McGraw-Hill 2009) and the following year released The Extraordinary Coach: How the Best Leaders Help Others Grow (McGraw-Hill 2010). He is a co-author of three books on teams. including the best-selling. a professional services firm providing consulting. 1990).