To be a good boss, be a good leader and treat others with respect

WORKING WOMAN

December 06, 1992|By Niki Scott

To be a good boss, you have to be an effective leader. Here are 14 ways to ensure your employees will follow:

* Seek your workers' ideas, opinions and feedback -- positive or negative -- and include them in the planning of projects.

* Don't meddle. Once you've handed out an assignment, back off. If you make it clear that you have faith in your workers' abilities and professional skills, they'll respond by proving that your faith is justified.

* Be accessible. A good leader never is too busy or preoccupied to spend "quality time" with an employee, and the time never is wasted.

* Match your employees' duties to their abilities and the tools and technology that are available to them. Workers can do only as good a job as their abilities and circumstances enable them to do.

* Think of yourself and your employees as members of a team, not a group of subordinates with a leader.

* Criticize sparingly, praise lavishly. Recognize what people do right, and they'll do more and more of it. Criticize and second-guess them unnecessarily, and they lose their self-confidence, initiative and drive.

* Think of conflict as a useful tool, not a failure on your part. When you encourage people to think for themselves, you're bound to have some conflicts, but people tend to fight for ideas they believe in, and intelligent debate keeps fresh ideas coming.

* Keep your expectations of your workers -- and yourself -- realistic. Aim for excellence, not perfection.

* Don't try to do everything, or you'll do nothing well. Ask yourself these questions every day: Do all these tasks need my personal attention? Can any of my employees handle any of them? If not, can I train them to?

* Don't be a know-it-all. Admit when you don't know something and you'll gain -- not lose -- your employees' respect.

* Share the credit, never the blame. If something goes wrong, you're responsible even if an employee was at fault. Never accept the credit for the successes of your team, even if you deserve it.

* Keep your perspective. If you act as if every small crisis is a matter of life and death, your employees will have tuned you out by the time a real matter of life and death comes along.

* Keep your sense of humor. Leaders are capable of seeing the ridiculous in just about every situation -- and in themselves.

* Finally, ask yourself in every situation, "What is the fair and kind thing to do about this?" and "How would I want my boss to treat me in this situation?" The best leaders (and bosses) don't forget the Golden Rule when they stop going to Sunday school. They practice it every day.

- Universal Press Syndicate

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