Being a better boss primarily requires us to communicate with our employees effectively. Recognizing that the leader and the led are only two portions of the puzzle, the message and the goal must also be considered when developing an effective communication relationship with employees. If you don't communicate the goal, the led will substitute their own goal and when the goals don't match, conflict results.
For example, during the spring, just prior to planting, your employee reports to work a 6 AM as normal, expecting to be gone by 2 PM, as per normal arrangement. The employee tells her husband to plan her to be home to prepare their own equipment for spring planting. However, you have decided to move equipment to your equipment to the field in hopes of calibrating all the electronics so that you can start when the crop insurance planting window opens up. Your goal is to make sure that on the first available day you are running hard, and you view this prep day as critical to get it all done, regardless of time spent. As mid afternoon approaches, two very different sets of expectations are brewing, which could have been avoided by cluing the employee in at the start of the day or beginning of the week on the things you, the employer, wanted accomplished.
On your organizational structure, it is extremely important understand how far your "aura" of control goes. In most organizations, about 5-6 people is as many as should report to one person. It is interesting that the lowest level of leadership in the military is a team, which is 4-5 solider element lead by a team leader. Battle and time tested is good litmus test for any recommendation. If everyone of your employees report directly to you and you have more than 5 employees, you probably need to reassess. In disciplining problem employees, it needs to consistent and follows the same procedures or it will not be perceived correctly. Many of these reasons for underperformance relate to you as the employer versus the employee. Make sure that you can correct these issues first and then see if the employee remains an under performer. These issues can be lack of realistic expectations, lack of clear guidance, improper or incomplete training, or lack of delegation authority to the actual decision maker.
In dealing with under performers, make sure to DO SOMETHING about it. Refuse to allow the problem to fester. Stop the negative effects on the business, the worker's happiness and the worker's effectiveness.
As an employer, you want to be friendly and fair with all employees, but be a buddy of no employee.
Some key concepts to consider are
- Get rid of the thought "I can do it better and quicker".
- Delegate the results, not the method unless the method is crucial to the success.
- Delegate every decision down to the lowest-ranked employee capable of making the decision. Remember, you can delegate authority, but not responsibility. Once you have delegate a task, DO NOT EVER take it back unless there is truly an impending disaster.
- All employee's capable of delegating a task should remember that concept as well.
- Acknowledge the work, no matter how trivial it might seem. We all want to feel like we are contributing to the team. However, avoid pandering and baseless praise. A simple acknowledgement goes a lot farther that empty rhetoric.