Leader or boss?
Across the world, employees are more disengaged from their work. How much of this is due to immediate superiors, and what can we do about it?
According to an article in Trainingmag.com:
‘Research shows that 50 percent of employees have a shaky relationship with their superiors. It is a cause for concern globally. Due to bad bosses, employee morale sinks, productivity tanks, and attrition goes up.’
We also keep hearing that employees leave organisations because of managers. We need leaders, not bosses, says Training Magazine, and we need to encourage leadership in organizations. Here is the distinction between the two. Leaders engage and persuade, bosses demand or command from the basis of their positional power. Leaders are more likely to be democratic, bosses autocratic – “What I say goes”. Leaders forgive, bosses avenge. Leaders recognise that times are changing, and they strive to continually develop themselves and enable the career growth of others.
When ego creeps into leaders, excessively, they start to focus more on their own emotions at the expense of others, and start to behave like bosses. Don’t let that happen to you as a leader. Equally, as employees, try to empathise with the pressures of your leaders, and not to fall into a blame mentality. Focus on developing yourself so that you rise up to the expectations set of you, taking cognisance of the fact that challenges exist in every organisation, internally and externally. You’ll stand yourself in better stead for the future by doing so.
To keep your finger on the pulse and retain the employees you need, implement multisource or 360 degree feedback. Conduct exit interviews. Find out which employees might be a liability. Use all feedback to make sense of whether there should be a reshuffle in terms of reporting lines, giving employees a chance to work with different leaders or supervisors. Sometimes a change in chemistry produces a better working result.
Forbes also prompts us to think about the effect of absent bosses. These are people who simply never ‘show up’. Whilst being micro-managed can be awful, receiving no feedback at all (and dealing with unanswered calls, emails and cancelled meetings) can leave an employee hanging and wondering what the future holds for them at the organisation. Being present for your employees is important, because it shows you are investing in them.
If you are one of those lucky employees with a true leader, and you have a great relationship with them, don’t take it for granted. These relationships can be powerful career enablers, good for the organisation, and they make work more rewarding and fulfilling. That’s good news given we spend most of our waking time at work.