The worst bosses are just that, bosses. They provide instructions, hold people to processes and performance standards and weed out staff for various reasons. If there isn’t something new for you to do or something for you to correct you seldom hear from them.
Today’s bosses need to start treating their staff as partners. They will still provide instructions and hold people to processes and performance standards and will weed out those who aren’t fully dedicated to their own career or the success of the company. A boss that acts as a partner will help to develop, shape and mold someone into a professional. They seek to understand their career aspirations and then work with them toward achieving those aspirations. The match their job role to those aspirations in order to help them grow and advance their career.
7 traits of a boss who behaves like a partner:
Modeling – their actions back up their words. They are the role model and there is never a question as to what is acceptable behavior.
Communication – they communicate early, often and are clear in their message. Beyond that they can easily tell if people are not understanding or need clarification and then clarify as needed.
Regular feedback – feedback is specific and delivered in a timely manner often following a regular cadence but is also random as situations arise.
Roadmap to the end goal – they will help develop a plan that has actions, milestones and timelines and then regularly reviews the status of those activities and offers course corrections as necessary.
Coaching – coaching is constant and follows along with feedback. They provide regular coaching in the areas where the most improvement is needed to reach the goals. For example, if public presentations are needed for the career goals they will offer feedback and coaching prior to and following any public presentation opportunities.
Negotiates the yes’s and no’s – this person knows that there is more to yes or no responses. Often when answering a question that requires a yes or no there should be a negotiation as to why that answer is the right one. In negotiating the yes or the no, they fully understand the why and have presented any consequences of each decision. Note: this activity will also help polish decision making skills.
Tangible progress – this is probably one of the most important. A boss who acts like a partner will offer tangible progress on career growth. This tangible proof comes in the form or additional responsibilities, opportunities to lead or manage activities or advancement. The reason this is important is that these “wins” will keep both parties motivated to reach the end goal.
As the workforce continues to evolve, especially as millennials enter the job market, your way of leading and managing must evolve too. People don’t just want a boss. They want someone who joins with them in their career evolution and who is willing to share in the risks and rewards of their development.