Monday, June 17, 2013

How to Be a Better Boss

How to Be a Better Boss:
I took on my first “boss” role a couple of years ago while overseeing a tiny cadre of junior-level editors at a national women's magazine. The media industry isn't exactly known for having easy managers--ever read The Devil Wears Prada ?--and I hadn't had any formal management training in my 10 years in the business. So I governed mostly by the Golden Rule and by asking myself, “WWWD?” as in “What would Wendy--a great former boss of mine--do?” Modeling my behavior on a successful mentor worked, and when I left my management post, the staffers seemed genuinely sorry to see me go. As I looked into what research has to say on the matter, it's clear why Wendy's tactics worked. The key to being a good boss is a combination of humility, confidence and the right kind of carrots.
#1 Rein in your ego. A group of organizational psychologists at Michigan State University and the University of Akron became interested in workplace arrogance during the global banking implosion, back when private-jetting, hotheaded leaders at doomed institutions like AIG were always in the news. They dug into existing research and found that arrogant bosses--those who blow off feedback, disrespect employees' ideas and avoid blame by pinning it on others--are destructive to business. That kind of behavior leads to a stressful work environment and more employee turnover. Humble leaders, however--those who are open to new ideas and able to admit when they are wrong--are more likely to garner employee loyalty. You can't expect your staff to always love or even like you--but at least as a humble boss, you'll get them to stick around.