Two More Mindsets of Good Bosses

Mindset #2: True Grit Are you a boss with true grit? What does that mean? And how do you get it right? “Gritty bosses are driven by the nagging conviction that everything they and their people do could be better if they tried just a little harder or were just a bit more creative,” writes Robert Sutton in Good Boss, Bad Boss Such bosses instill grit in subordinates. Without creating the impression that everything is an emergency, great bosses have a sense of urgency. They are dogged and patient, sensing when to press forward and when to be flexible. As Albert Einstein once stated: “It’s not that I am so smart; it is just that I stay with my problems longer.” University of Pennsylvania Assistant Professor of Psychology Angela Duckworth, PhD, and her colleagues define grit as perseverance and passion toward long-term goals. “Grit entails working strenuously toward challenges, maintaining effort and interest despite failure, adversity and plateaus in progress,” they wrote in a 2007 Journal of Personality and Social Psychology paper. Without becoming discouraging, bosses with grit believe that progress isn’t always good enough – that you can never stop learning or rest on your laurels. Mindset #3: Small Wins Count If you set big goals to energize and direct people, you can fall into the trap of overwhelming and discouraging them. In the work I do coaching executives, I see this happen all the time. The path to success is lined with small wins. When you frame goals as a series of small steps, it helps people see the importance of their participation. Smaller goals also help...

The Mindset of a Great Boss

How can you become a better boss? That’s a good question and an important one. In the work I do coaching, I find that some bosses don’t realize how important their work is to the people they’re in charge of. Bosses shape how people experience work: joy versus despair, enthusiasm versus complaints, good health versus stress. Most bosses want to be good at what they do, yet many lack the essential mindsets that precede positive actions and behaviors. If you’re a boss who strives to do great work, I believe the most important task you can do is to adjust your thinking. The beliefs and assumptions you hold about yourself, your work and your people will determine your actions, according to Stanford’s Robert Sutton, author of Good Boss, Bad Boss. “The best bosses embrace five beliefs that are stepping stones to effective action,” he writes. Mindset #1: Goldilocks Management Managers who are too assertive will damage relationships with their superiors, peers and subordinates. Conversely, those who aren’t assertive enough will fail to inspire their teams to strive for stretch goals, according to a study conducted by business professors Daniel Ames, PhD, and Francis Flynn, PhD. (of Columbia and Stanford Universities, respectively). Ames and Flynn speculate that the best bosses would receive an “average” rating from subordinates if measured in competitiveness, aggressiveness, passivity and submission. Stanford experiments confirm that micromanaging employees with relentless attention and advice usually undermines their efforts. There are times when bosses need to coach people, discipline, communicate direction and intervene. The savviest bosses look for the right moments to apply pressure or encouragement to get the...

Killer Bosses

I’ve read a lot of studies that prove the link between a boss’s effectiveness and team performance. But did you know that a good boss can help you live longer? True. A Swedish study that followed 3,122 men for 10 years found that those with the best bosses (considerate, clear and proactive change agents) suffered fewer heart attacks than did those with bad bosses. Study participants who stayed with good bosses for 4 years had at least a 39 percent lower heart-attack risk, according to coauthor Anna Nyberg, PhD. [Source: ebib.sub.su.se/saltsa/2005/wlr2005_01.pdf] I don’t know about you, but since I don’t like stress, this is strong motivation for trying to help your boss be as good a boss as possible! Personality-assessment specialist Robert Hogan, PhD.,researched studies of diverse workers conducted in 1948, 1958, 1968 and 1998 in cities like Baltimore, London, Seattle and Honolulu. In his meta-analysis of postal workers, milk-truck drivers, schoolteachers and other members of the labor force, 75 percent reported that dealing with their immediate supervisor was the most stressful part of the job. Over the last 30 years, Gallup surveys of more than 100,000 employees in 2,500 diverse businesses have revealed that one’s immediate boss has far more impact on engagement and performance than any other factor. A 2007 Gallup survey of U.S. employees found that 24 percent would fire their bosses if given the chance. Indeed, 56 percent of disengaged employees cite bad bosses as a primary reason for their unhappiness. People don’t quit their jobs; they quit bad bosses. Good bosses create employee satisfaction that leads to retention, performance, productivity and profitability. How you...