Bosses: You’ve got the power
“The upshot of these and so many other studies and stories is that bosses pack a wallop, especially on their direct reports. Bosses shape how people spend their days and whether they experience joy or despair, perform well or badly, or are healthy or sick.”
That’s from Bob Sutton’s great book, Good Boss, Bad Boss. If you are a boss, you’re the single most important factor in determining the morale and productivity of your team.
Make your team a great place to work
There are companies that are great places to work. But for most people, most of the time, the boss does more to determine whether where their work experience is great or not. Their experience working on the team is the most important reality.
I’ve seen wretched companies where some people loved coming to work because of their boss. And I’ve watched awful bosses make working for a great place to work company more like working at a penal colony.
Yes, the company has an impact
There are things you can’t control. You don’t determine whether the company pays a living wage. You don’t have a say in what’s in the policy manual or the process of getting expenses paid or vacation approved. But that’s no excuse
You affect most of the important things
You can help your people grow and develop, and you should. That’s your job. You can treat people fairly, like responsible adults. You can say “good job” or “great effort” or “you’re making progress” even if your company doesn’t seem to care. You can help team members build on their strengths and make their weakness irrelevant. You can take the blame when things go bad and hand out credit freely when they go well. In other words, you can make a difference.
How you make a positive difference
Start by getting to know your people and their work and help them get to know you. Show up a lot. Have conversations. They’re the way relationships grow and grow strong.
Look for legitimate reasons to praise team members. Praise achievement, progress, and effort. Praise honest attempts to do something different, even if the outcome isn’t so great.
Imagine yourself as team enabler. Help people do better. Help them work together better. Remove impediments that get in the way of good work or high morale.
Boss’s Bottom Line
You have the biggest impact on the productivity and morale of the team. Use that power for good.