As a boss, what is the key to being loved by your employees? How do you define a “boss who is loved”? Perhaps you would say that a key indicator of bosses that are loved is that they are admired and respected by their subordinates.
Admiration comes with respect, and respect is not only two-way, it is also earned. Therefore, to be a boss who is loved, start with putting yourself in your employees’ shoes. You need to give them respect and earn theirs. To earn their respect, start with acknowledging and delivering on their viewpoint – namely, what would they want from a boss?
Narrowing down the scope of this question is a simple matter. Regardless of whether your subordinates are fresh-faced juniors or senior executives, they only seek three things from their bosses:
Operating as a boss definitely needs you to do more than just fulfil these needs, but doing so provides the foundation for everything else that comes after. I wasn’t born into the working world with the role and responsibility of a boss. Working my way up from the bottom, I had these core needs, and I was fortunate to know outstanding bosses who could deliver on them and much more. They shaped my expectations of what a boss could be and helped me get to where I am today. I would be honoured to pay it forward with this Power Read.
Inspiring bosses are also teachers and talent nurturers. Instead of confidently offering solutions to employees facing difficult problems, consider pointing them in the right direction towards the solution. Let them accomplish it through their own efforts and merit, or guide them on their journey to the solution – it depends on the circumstance and the approach you favour. Nonetheless, a good boss will be a dependable one, whether they solve problems in a direct or indirect manner.
This dependability can and should make itself known in other ways as well. Sometimes, your employees don’t need a solution, just to vent and let off some steam regarding their workload and stresses. Will you be there for them? When you let employees talk the stress out of their system, they will feel much better and consequently work better.
Being dependable isn’t rocket science, and it arguably isn’t even an art – it’s about the actions you make. Being dependable (and by extension, a respected boss) is when you look after your employees, show your appreciation for them and ensure that they’re fairly rewarded for the efforts they’ve invested. It’s about caring, and being a reliable navigator, showing them which directions they need to take.
When you care about your employees, that will extend to using your capabilities and experience to help them gain value. I worked under Ravi Gupta, an incredible boss and human being. He had no lack of skills and experience – Ravi had come from an amazing creative agency in India, and though he was a mining engineer by profession, he was a tremendous strategic and creative mind.
Whenever I found myself consulting him, I almost always felt like I had come across something new and unexpected. He had an inspirational ability to think on a broad level, across multiple brands and categories but it didn’t end there. He could practically look out of the window, seize onto some realisation and come up with something that may seem unrelated but eventually leads you to the answer. I learnt something new every time I spoke with him; that’s the kind of value-add that your subordinates will greatly benefit from.
In the words of a boss far greater than myself:
To prevent this from happening, you always need to be accessible to your employees. Your organisation’s culture needs to be one that makes people feel that they can freely walk into your office and discuss issues with you.
Many people believe that the boss/subordinate relationship works like this: the subordinates’ role is to make the boss’s life easier. I would like to turn that understanding upside down. In truth, the boss’s role is to make the subordinates’ lives easier. That’s a principle I’ve held from the very beginning.
I’ve come across many in the industry who start feeling more comfortable once they have a team working under them. With subordinates to help shoulder their responsibilities, they fall into a kick-back-and-relax mentality. If you want to be respected and admired by your subordinates, that’s not the route you should go down.
With great power comes great responsibility, and that also applies to your team. As your team grows, there are more people to look after. That means more people that you need to motivate, lead by example, and assist when their problems inevitably end up on your table. That’s part of the responsibility of being a boss, just as parents are responsible for the well-being of their kids. Ask not what your employees can do for you, but what you can do for them.
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Chairman | Former CEO & Managing Partner
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