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So just how good are your organization’s bosses?

National Boss's Day may be an opportune time to consider areas for improvement.
By: | October 16, 2019 • 3 min read

This week we celebrate National Boss’s Day. But just how good are today’s bosses at leading and inspiring employees? A new survey suggests there’s lots of room for improvement.

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The survey, titled The Boss Barometer, finds that 72% of U.S. workers wish their boss would ask for their input more often and 72% want more responsibility. Significantly, 66% feel they’d perform just as well, if not better, without their boss’ input. Nearly a quarter (23%) do not believe their manager is the most qualified to make decisions, while more than a third (36%) say their boss micro-manages too much.

Related: This is why you have to take employee experience seriously

The findings suggest some bosses may be stuck managing in a more hierarchical style even though many organizations have moved to a flatter, less top-down model.

“I believe that businesses that implement this type of agile philosophy, where employees are given autonomy to make decisions, and encouraged to try new things, will thrive,” says Mark Robinson, co-founder of Kimble Applications, which conducted the survey of 1,000 full-time U.S. employees.

Regardless of whether they work in flat organizations, the best bosses understand how to build relationships. In a brief released to coincide with National Boss’s Day, Fierce Inc., a consulting firm founded by Fierce Conversations author Susan Scott, suggests that managers consider “4 Truths to Becoming a Better Boss,” starting with having better conversations:

  • Truth No. 1 is “the conversation is the relationship.” All conversations are opportunities to build the relationship between boss and employee by “granting us the permission to explore the thoughts and feelings of another person. The state of the relationship is defined by the quality of these exchanges.”
  • Truth No. 2 is “there’s always time.” Although there often seems to be too little time to get everything done, “prioritize according to what is most pertinent to the relationships you have with those around you,” Fierce suggests. “Take a moment — commit to finding ways to connect with others. Small acts of appreciation will go a long way.”
  • True No. 3 is “connect with why.” Having a sense of purpose matters more now than ever, so focus on your company’s mission statement–who are you serving, and why are you serving them? Having a sense of purpose makes it possible to “connect to our work on a level that places relationships at the heart of your day-to-day.”
  • Finally, Truth No. 4 is “diving deeper will bring you closer.” Engaging in small talk on topics such as the weather is fine, but to truly deepen connections it’s important to ask questions. “If an opportunity arises, ask about the other person’s likes and dislikes, what their goals are, how they feel about certain topics, and what matters to them.”

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Andrew R. McIlvaine is senior editor at Human Resource Executive®. A Penn State graduate, Andy also spent two years in the U.S. Army prior to attending college and attained the rank of sergeant while serving in the Army Reserves. He can be reached at [email protected]

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