How can I be a good boss?
- chapter excerpt -
Although the image of an authoritative, hierarchical
supervisor often serves as a stereotype for the
typical German boss, in reality, today’s
bosses must also be motivators, coaches, visionaries,
coordinators and communicators.
For these reasons it is all the more likely that
the modern boss can be found working in large corporations
like VW, Siemens, e-on, Mercedes or the Deutsche
Bank. It is here that a cooperative demeanor has
most obviously won out over the authoritative leadership
In conjunction with this new leadership style, great expectations are also placed on employees and reiterated with an employee evaluation.
These include high levels of initiative, enthusiasm,
self-motivation, teamwork, and endurance in the
face of frustrating problems. In turn, employees
begin to question their work much more critically
than before: Why am I doing this? For what reason?
Who exactly are my customers? This new found interest
in one’s tasks leads employees – supervisors
and subordinates alike – to personally take
responsibility for their actions when it comes
to achieving their job’s priorities.
Any good boss requires time attendance and promptness from their employees. In the
meantime, books packed with tips on how to be a
good boss are starting to fill whole bookshelves.
In most of these, three main leadership styles
are defined: the authoritative/directive style,
the democratic/cooperative style, and the laissez-faire
style. Clearly, leadership style is also strongly
influenced by a supervisor’s personal-ity,
however, as a supervisor, it is a good idea to
decide which per-sonal characteristics you wish
to express and which you would rather suppress.
This chapter will mainly discuss the so-called “democratic” leadership
style, but we briefly define the two other styles:
- The authoritative leadership style is direct, brief, and characterized by a patriarchal boss. One of the major disadvantages of this style is that employees are often less motivated than those working with bosses who use other leadership styles. Also, a high level of control defines authoritative leadership, and for this reason, the consequences of making a wrong decision are greatest for managers who use it. For example, an authoritative manager carries most of the responsibility for making decisions that can end up influencing many people at lower organizational levels. The authoritative leadership style is most characteristic of firms run by their founder or governmental organizations.
- The laissez-faire leadership style is characterized by a boss who is actually “just another employee”. Less control is necessary with this style because almost all employees assume responsibility for their own tasks. This style can be difficult to successfully implement depending on how broadly tasks are assigned and how intensively employees must coordinate with each other to get a job done. The laissez-faire style is most characteristic of service providers such as attorneys or engineers, and is often used by media and PR-agencies. In these businesses, each employee often has his or her own, self-contained work and customer base.
In order to become better aware of your personal abilities as a supervisor, you should
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This new found interest in one's tasks leads employees – supervisors and subordinates alike – to personally take responsibility for their actions when it comes to achieving their job's priorities. Bosses can utilize employee surveys to make assess how they have been doing in keeping their employees motivated.
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