It was happy hour on Friday afternoon: I was ordering my favourite entree from Brassii on King, as I waited for my associate to join me. As she came staggering in the restaurant like Beatrix Kiddo in Kill Bill, I knew something was wrong. She went on to rant about her slave driver boss – a specialized doctor, and certified workaholic, who caused three secretaries to quit within 6 months.
As the head tech in the private practice, and right hand woman to her boss, she found herself stressed as she had to interview potential employees (again) to fill the demanding position. “I have way too much on my plate right now – he just doesn’t seem to care that he is the reason these girls quit in the first place.” Her boss constantly worked his employees to the bone: BBMing all hours of the night, yelled when things didn’t go right, belittled the secretary on duty, complained when patients were late (and often refused to see them as a result) and never smiled.
We’ve all endured the wrath of a “toxic boss” – the one who wears their job title on their sleeve, belittles employees, and rules with an iron fist. Their lack of effective leadership skills causes the decline in employee productivity, morale, energy and most definitely confidence.
I’ve put together a list of solutions every superior should have in their arsenal:
- Award credit where it is due: generally speaking people like to know when they are doing a good job. It boosts their confidence, and drive to exceed what is expected of them
- Never demean or belittle employees: concentrate on effective communication between you and your employee(s). Build on trust, empathy and compassion. Employees need to feel they are valued and respected; otherwise you’re asking for less than optimal performance, or high turn over
- Maintain Integrity: Be honest, uphold your moral code and keep your promises. If you told the new hire the environment would be “an optimal learning experience” don’t have them living in a nightmare 3 months later.
- Communicate, communicate communicate: Be very clear with your expectations of your employees. Use detail, and elaborate if necessary. Say what you mean, and mean what you say. Watch your tone: there is nothing wrong with being pleasant
- Seek feedback: Develop an action plan where you not only perform reviews on your employees, but have them provide feedback on your role as their superior. Some companies use 360-degree Feedback: Responses are provided by subordinates, peers, and supervisors. It also includes a self-assessment and, in some cases, feedback from external sources such as customers, suppliers or other interested stakeholders. If needed, an action plan can be developed with a career coach, in order to effectively build on strengths, and improve challenges.