Are YOU a Good Boss?

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“Being a boss is hard,” Kevin Daum writes in Inc. magazine. “People don't naturally wish to have one. And not everyone aspires to be one. But most people are anxious to follow a good leader, and most organizations live and die on the quality of the leaders who run them.”

The foundation to building and sustaining a great business is the belief that what you do is important. How you’re able to permeate this feeling among others within your organization plays a big part in determining your future success.

Companies like Toyota do all they can to make every individual feel committed and loyal to the company. That means designating highly motivational and dedicated trainers, so employees are exposed to the best the company has to offer. Jeffrey Liker and David Meier, authors of the book, Toyota Talent, identify attributes they feel trainers of new employees must have.

A Willingness and Ability to Learn: A true master trainer is also a master student, write Liker and Meier. As an employer, are you a continuous learner? This desire and ability to grow and reinvest in your own learning helps you be a better teacher to others.

Adaptability and Flexibility: While trainers must have core skills and competencies, they also need to be adaptable. Events happen and issues arise – as a leader, how you respond to changes has a profound effect on your employees, both positive and negative.

Genuine Caring and Concern for Others: The veterinarian/trainer/mentor at one of the most successful pork operations in the country says, “There is no magic bullet,” but if such a thing exists, it is the Golden Rule. That fact is both simple and complex, meaning people know that treating others the way they would want to be treated is what they should do, but few really do it. People usually can sense when a boss or trainer is genuinely interested in them and cares about them, and vice versa. If trainers do not have genuine caring and concern, their attitudes and behavior will negatively influence employees,” say the authors. “It is relatively easy to spot these characteristics in people: They are the ones who naturally make efforts to help others learn, without being asked to do so.”

Patience: Whether working with family members, children, your leadership team or employees, patience truly is a virtue. If the person designated as trainer is easily upset or frustrated, he or she will be unable to remain committed through the time period in which employees are learning a new skill.

Persistence: Trainers or employers must stick with the learning process until the desired outcome is achieved. “Each employee has different needs and abilities,” say Liker and Meier, “and they must be willing to persist in the fact of numerous obstacles. Respectful persistence will show the trainer’s commitment to achieving the correct results from the employee.”

Responsibility: If the employee fails, the person responsible for that employee fails. The trainer/owner must take responsibility and if need be, develop a new plan to achieve the desired result.

Confidence and Leadership: Trainers/owners must lead by example and demonstrate proficiency in the task being taught. A key component of leadership is identifying the correct balance between guidance and dominance.

Questioning Nature: “Trainers must question why there was a particular outcome of the training and what must be changed if a different outcome is desired,” say Liker and Meier. They must fully understand why each step is important, and the consequences if a particular step is not accomplished. Checklists are helpful aids in training employees to follow best management practices. In addition, helping employees learn why each step is important will lead them to understand the importance of their role in the operation.

Make the Commitment
The technology related to developing people in any given organization is not new or remarkable, but the commitment to doing it every day, consistently and at a high level, is unfortunately elusive and rare. Businesses that are willing to commit the time and resources to superior training and engagement with employees are much more likely to reap long-term benefits for their efforts.