THROUGHOUT my 17-year working life and taking up random jobs during high school and college, I have had both male and female bosses. I have had the good, the bad, the distant, the sarcastic and the somewhat crazy. To me, being a boss does not hinge on gender roles; it simply boils down to practising proper work ethics and possessing sound leadership skills.
Organisations today put a lot of emphasis on hard work and diligence. Though employees form the backbone of a company, bosses or managers are on the frontline of a business. Whether it is about mentoring employees or retaining talent, a good boss is at the root of an organisation.
A good boss should not only be responsible for spearheading his team, but should also be a role model to his subordinates. While working under a good boss, employees can learn and develop the following areas -- people management, supervision, relationship management, communication, leadership, work-life balance, delegation, accountability, etc.
An article in The Economic Times reiterated that a good boss should be sensitive towards employees, walk the talk and remain focused.
WALK THE TALK: Do what you say and say what you do. This means, a boss is expected to be transparent about expectations, situations and solutions and consistently take them to its eventuality.
FOCUS: The boss is expected to be focused and exhibit passion towards his work, which in turn inspires the team.
RESPECT AND COMPASSION: Constant positive reinforcement becomes necessary for the workforce as no one appreciates a last minute bomb. If there are developmental areas, one expects compassion and understanding to help address them.
In addition, bosses should also re-evaluate their roles as leaders. Effective leadership depends on the bosses' assessment of his employees willingness and commitment to do it. To complicate matters further, the employees ability and willingness will change as they develop and thus, the particular leadership style has to change in response. This can happen in four ways:
THE TELLING STYLE LEADER: This leader provides high levels of guidance and tells the group members what to do, when and where to do it and how to do it;
THE SELLING STYLE LEADER: This leader gives the group high levels of guidance and support. This leader not only tells people what to do but also tells them why they should do it;
THE PARTICIPATING STYLE LEADER: This leader gives the group high levels of support but little in the way of direction. This leadership style is appropriate for a group that knows what to do but has lost the motivation to accomplish the task; and,
THE DELEGATING STYLE LEADER: This leader gives little task direction and little emotional support. This leadership style augurs well with a group that knows what to do and how to do it.
Organisations should encourage its top leaders to understand the importance of being a good boss right from the beginning. This will increase employee efficiency, loyalty and can be an organisation's best retention tool.
After all, it is said that people don't leave companies; they leave managers.
R. Murali Rajaratenam, Kuala Lumpur: New Straits Times Letters To The Editors 09/06/2013