Why You Should Be a “Nice” BossJanuary 15, 2018
Are your employees just cogs in your business’ machine?
Comparing your employees to cogs in a machine might seem like an apt comparison – after all, a machine can’t run properly if its parts aren’t working – however, it also dehumanizes your workers.
In order to acknowledge your employees’ importance in the process, but still compare them to living beings, you should consider comparing them to petals on a flower. Not only do the petals make a flower beautiful, but they also play an important part in photosynthesis and other roles that help keep the flower alive. Yes, alive. It’s been proven that plants are alive and can even feel pain – just like human beings.
Actually… scratch all that. Let’s forget about cogs and petals. It’s time to start treating employees like human beings.
That’s right: your employees are human beings, just like you are.
They come from all different backgrounds and have each had different life experiences. They’re unique individuals who each have something special to offer you.
But do you truly deserve what they’re offering you?
If you’re treating your workers like robots (or “cogs”), then probably not.
If you’ve been distancing yourself from your employees in an attempt to be more “professional,” you’re doing them – and you – a massive disservice. As human beings, your employees want that personal interaction from you and, when they don’t get it, it’s very likely going to make them unhappy.
Unhappy employees are unproductive employees.
You don’t have to be a touchy-feely boss who gives everyone hugs in order to be a “nice” boss. You just need to project warmth and attempt to actually care about your employees as fellow humans.
According to researchers at Harvard, taking the nice approach as a boss or manager will:
- Decrease workplace stress
- Increase productivity
- Increase trust
- Increase loyalty
In other words, your employees will work harder and stay with you longer if you treat them well!
But how do you become a “nice” boss…?
“When you smile, the world smiles with you,” as the old saying goes.
Remembering to come into work with a smile each day, even if you’ve got a case of the grumpies internally, can go a long way.
By outwardly presenting a positive attitude toward your workers, no matter what’s going on in your personal life, you’ll put them more at ease. It will also make you more approachable should an employee want to come to you with a fresh idea!
Listening is one of the best leadership skills a boss or manager can have.
Be open to hearing your employees’ ideas – and ACT ON THEM if they make business sense. (Be sure to offer up praise for good ideas as well!).
Also listen to your employees’ complaints, and take them seriously.
3. Actually Get to KNOW Your Employees
If you only know your employees’ names and little else, you’re doing it wrong.
You don’t have to pry for super personal details; however, you should know the basics:
- Do they have a family?
- What do they like to do on their time off?
- What do they enjoy most about the field of work they’ve chosen?
By asking them those simple questions, you’ll establish that you recognize them as a fellow human being – and make them feel valued.
And, chances are, you might have some things in common with them! For example, my boss here at 133T and I are both avid video game players. Knowing that has helped us bond and gives us something to talk about other than facts and figures.
Relating to an employee on a human level is not a sign of weakness, or a sign that you’re a “soft” boss. It’s a sign of mutual respect.
If an employee needs a sick day, remember how you last felt when trying to work while sick. Or, if your employee has experienced a tremendous loss, remember how you felt when you last grieved for a family member or pet’s passing.
Very few working individuals will use personal struggles to try to take advantage of you. So set those worries aside. Chances are, they’re just having a (temporary) bad time and need your understanding until it passes.
For example, I’ve been very ill for the past few months. To the point that I need surgery to remove one of my organs. It’s been hellish, and I have to spend a lot of my time in bed, away from my writing desk. My boss here at 133T has been a gem. He’s arranged my work schedule around my doctor appointments, has made plans for when I’m recovering from surgery, and goes easy on me when he knows I’m in pain.
Does that make me want to kick back and take it easy work-wise? Not at all! It’s made me fall in love with 133T more than ever. And as soon as I’ve recovered, I’m going to stop giving 100% and start giving 120%!
A little empathy goes a long way toward building employee loyalty. If you take care of them, they’ll take care of you. By showing them kindness in their hour of need, they’ll pay you back by working harder than ever. Trust me.
5. Lead by Example
If you want those around you to work hard, you have to work hard yourself.
Hold yourself accountable and recognize that you’re one of the petals on the flower – one of the humans making your business great.
Treat others the way you’d like to be treated, and work the way you’d like them to work.
It’s time to give being “nice” a chance. Your business profits will thank you for it.