Are you a good boss?

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“Being a boss is hard,” Kevin Daum writes in Inc. magazine. “People don’t naturally wish to have one. And not everyone aspires to be one. But most people are anxious to follow a good leader, and most organizations live and die on the quality of the leaders who run them.”

chart The foundation to building and sustaining a great business is the belief that what you do is important. How you’re able to permeate this feeling among others within your organization plays a big part in determining your future success.

Companies like Toyota want every individual feel committed and loyal to the company. That means designating highly motivational and dedicated trainers, so employees are exposed to the best the company has to offer. Jeffrey Liker and David Meier, authors of the book, Toyota Talent, identify attributes they feel trainers of new employees must have.

Willingness and ability to learn
A true master trainer is also a master student, write Liker and Meier. As an employer, are you a continuous learner? This desire and ability to grow and reinvest in your own learning helps you be a better teacher to others.

Adaptability and flexibility
While trainers must have core skills and competencies, they also need to be adaptable. Events happen and issues arise – as a leader, how you respond to changes has a profound effect on your employees, both positive and negative.

Genuine caring and concern
The veterinarian/trainer/mentor at one of the most successful pork operations in the country says, “There is no magic bullet,” but if such a thing exists, it is the Golden Rule. That fact is both simple and complex, meaning people know that treating others the way they would want to be treated is what they should do, but few people are effective in accomplishing it. People usually can sense when a boss or trainer is genuinely interested in them and cares about them, and vice versa. If trainers do not have genuine caring and concern, their attitudes and behavior will negatively influence employees,” say the authors. “It is relatively easy to spot these characteristics in people: They are the ones who naturally make efforts to help others learn, without being asked to do so.”

Patience
Whether working with family members, children, your leadership team or employees, patience truly is a virtue. If the person designated as trainer is easily upset or frustrated, he or she will be unable to remain committed through the time period in which employees are learning a new skill.

Persistence
Trainers or employers must stick with the learning process until the desired outcome is achieved. “Each employee has different needs and abilities,” say Liker and Meier, “and they must be willing to persist in the face of numerous obstacles. Respectful persistence will show the trainer’s commitment to achieving the correct results from the employee.” Responsibility If the employee fails, the person responsible for that employee also fails. The trainer/owner must take responsibility and, if need be, develop a new plan to achieve the desired result.

Confidence and leadership
Trainers/owners must lead by example and demonstrate proficiency in the task being taught. Liker and Meier say a key component of leadership is identifying the correct balance between guidance and dominance.

Questioning nature
“Trainers must question why there was a particular outcome of the training and what must be changed if a different outcome is desired,” say Liker and Meier. They must fully understand why each step is important, and the consequences if a particular step is not accomplished. Checklists are helpful aids in training employees to follow best management practices. In addition, helping employees learn why each step is important will lead them to understand the importance of their role in the operation.

Handshake So, now that the attributes of effective leadership are outlined, can you say that you’re a good
boss? Take a look at the following 10 traits Daum pulled together to see where you likely rate with your employees:

  1. Good Bosses maintain control and get things done.
    Amazing Bosses
     know efficiency can be the enemy of efficacy in the long run and so they work to create an atmosphere of expansive thinking. They empower their team with time, resources and techniques, to solve big issues with big ideas instead of Band-Aids and checklists.
  2. Good Bosses foster a sense of community, making room for everyone.
    Amazing Bosses
     form an internal culture by design rather than default, making sure they attract the right people to get on the bus and then get them in the right seats. They also make sure that the wrong people never get on the bus, or if they do, they get off quickly.
  3. Good Bosses invite creative thinking.
    Amazing Bosses know how to integrate creativity into daily conversation and procedures so that every employee feels natural about being creative and facilitating productive creativity when interacting with others in the company.
  4. Good Bosses create an open environment for voicing concern and frustration.
    Amazing Bosses
     create an environment where people are empowered to make change on their own to improve product, process, and procedures. They integrate open communication to the point where the expression of honest concerns is expected, required, and desired by everyone involved to achieve the highest levels of team performance.
  5. Good Bosses encourage career development for their employees.
    Amazing Bosses
     integrate individual learning and development into every job description so that personal growth is required and rewarded. They know companies that do this thrive thanks to new leaders rising from the inside. They make sure the company apportions time and dollars toward personal growth so that everyone shares reasonable expectations of commitment and success.
  6. Good Bosses run effective and efficient meetings.
    Amazing Bosses
     make sure that everyone on the team understands the difference between a valuable meeting and a waste of time and resources. They educate the team on facilitation techniques and give each person consistent practice at structuring and leading effective meetings with postmortem feedback.
  7. Good Bosses build trust so people feel safe.
    Amazing Bosses
     encourage constant interaction and high performance within the team so they succeed or fail together, creating tight bonds of loyalty to the company and each other. Successes are met with equal high praise and rewards, while failures are met with encouraging acceptance and postmortem learning discussions yielding next-step improvements. (Of course amazing bosses know how to make sure people and teams fail safely in the first place.)
  8. Good Bosses generate happiness in the workplace.
    Amazing Bosses 
    constantly seek and execute ways to help employees gain deep personal satisfaction from their responsibilities so they are inspired and excited to come to work and perform well every day.
  9. Good Bosses make sure people are responsible for their roles and actions.
    Amazing Bosses 
    promote personal accountability by providing clear communication and buy-in as to the culture, vision, and goals for the company. They know how to effectively and efficiently align the team, communicate in rhythm, and measure progress so they can adjust quickly with minimal risk.
  10. Good Bosses know how to praise and show gratitude.
    Amazing Bosses
     know how to instill a deep sense of personal satisfaction and accomplishment in individual team members. They help employees develop a strong sense of self-confidence and self-praise that outweighs any pat-on-the-back or award provided.

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