There is a recent study from Monster in which 38% of respondents called their boss “horrible” and 54% total gave their boss a 1-2 rating on a five-point scale, with five being the highest. In good (maybe?) news from that survey, 17% did rate their boss as “excellent.”
It is common business journalism fodder to diss on bosses, and I am not here to do that. I have compassion for managers because it’s challenging! It’s one of the only roles in a company that has to manage two ways. Executives don’t tend to manage up and execution-level workers don’t manage down. Managing in two directions can be very fraught. I’ve been in those roles and I know!
So how can we better prepare leaders for this dual-natured role? Culture is founded in every day experiences and managers are the front lines of that.
How do we start?
- Encourage connection individually and personally with team members: Compassion, empathy and understanding is the key to a powerful working relationship believe it or not! That’s one of the biggest lessons of COVID: work isn’t “the be-all and end-all” for everyone. You need to know who your people are beyond the deliverables to understand how the whole team will fit together.
- Encourage flexibility: Flexibility is the perk of this decade, bar none. People want it. You should be a manager of outcomes, not activities. Managers who encourage and promote flexibility, and who realize the importance of a 4pm ballet recital, are the managers we remember and brag about to other friends.
- Promote accountability: When the team at CULTURE PARTNERS works with clients, we hear a lot about a lack of accountability in their workplaces — and the need to foster more. Accountability is a complicated topic, and easily misunderstood, but we help our clients inspire positive accountability to drive results.
- Promote adaptability and resilience too: We have some research coming out shortly about this. We studied 243 organizations. We ranked them by eight attributes of culture, and then wanted to tie those attributes to long-term financial returns. One culture type stood out amongst the rest: It was adaptable cultures. More coming on this soon!