There is a simple yet powerful strategy that you can use to become a better boss, and a better leader, that will take you just ten minutes. It doesn't matter what your managerial style is; this strategy will work for everyone. But before I share it with you, there is something your employees would like you to know.
Employees' No. 1 frustration
If there is one thing that employees hate, it is being held accountable for something they don't know how to do. Common sentiments include: They are expecting me to do something I was never taught to do, We're just supposed to figure it out for ourselves or I was never trained on this.
It's pretty simple, really; we hate being asked to do something that we don't know how to do. When it comes to business, it's even worse, because a lack of training means that employees can't do the job that supports their livelihood.
These frustrations naturally bleed into the workplace atmosphere and begin to upset the culture. The same employees who express the frustrations above often follow up with ones that are even worse: I bet my boss doesn't even know how to do this. That's why she pushed it down to me. Or All he does is sit up there and tell us about “strategy.” We're supposed to figure out how to make it all work.
How you can look like a hero
Here is the secret: teach your employees something new. Training your employees is the No. 1 way you can become a better boss.
I don't mean pay for training or make sure they get training, I mean you should train them. There are several reasons why this is so important.
1. When you train your employees, they learn to trust you. One of the pitfalls of management is that the higher up the food chain you climb, the less you are involved in specific, day-to-day tasks. To many employees, it often looks as if you're simply pointing fingers and telling people what to do. In fact, I have often hear employees claim that they don't even know if their boss could do their job. You can prevent these negative thoughts by displaying competency in a specific task. If you know enough to teach your employees a new skill, they begin to trust that you have the ability to guide them and set the right direction for the business.
2. Teaching is the highest form of learning. Spending time teaching your employees a new skill might sound like a pain to you, but I'm willing to bet that you will learn something, too. Furthermore, when you teach your employees a new skill you're going to hear exactly what they are struggling with. They will ask questions about certain things and not about others. Pay attention to those questions. They are pain points and will give you further insight into what they need help with. Giving your employees the help they need to do their jobs makes you a better boss.
3. Taking the time to teach shows employees that you care. It can be tempting to tell employees, You're going to have to figure it out for yourself, especially in a small business. Sure, every now and then, that's how it has to be. But you will gain a lot of respect when you take time out of your schedule to help the people that your business depends on. If you're holding them accountable for their performance, the least you can do is make sure they have what they need to perform. As Albert Einstein once said, "If you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid." So don't judge your employees based on skills they don't have. Make sure they know what they need to get the job done.
Show your employees that you have their back. Show them that you are competent and that you care. Take ten minutes and teach them something new.