Breaking the Bad Boss cycle: A Case Study

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Recently Gallup released their latest report about the state of the labor force in America; it turns out that 1 in 2 employees leave their job because they can’t stand their boss. Stories & headlines like this are good for filling air time on the business network channels because everyone has an opinion, though I often wonder how many of them have ever actually had an employee.

If you’re a business owner let’s start by taking an optimistic approach.  1 in 2 is 50%, so your glass is already half full….now let’s focus on filling it up!

This past week Business Insider posted an article by Jacquelyn Smith titled 3 Things that make People Love their Boss. She referenced a different Gallup case study of over 7,700 US adults and found 3 things that make employees feel good about their bosses.  I decided to put the 3 suggestions to the test for a quick Case Study with one of our Aspire clients who has been working diligently on this part of the business for at least a year now.

3 suggestions from the Gallup study…

Gallup suggested the following: Consistent and meaningful communication, Performance management beyond annual reviews, and a Focus on strengths, not weaknesses.  Putting that into perspective with a local business (our client) for a case study, here are the initiatives they put in place that match up with the Gallup suggestions:

  1. Consistent and meaningful communication

  • This business holds weekly meetings all employees to keep employees abreast of pertinent news about current and upcoming work.
  • They have the opportunity to ask questions.
  • Employees are recognized for their accomplishment in front of their peers.
  1. Performance management beyond annual reviews.

  • Several “on-going” metrics in efficiency (KPI’s) are being measured and tracked. (Not 100%  “live” yet,  but getting closer.)
  • Expectations in maintaining actions and metrics that various employees are responsible for are reviewed weekly.
  • Expectations of employee alignment with the company core values & mission.
  1. A focus on strengths, not weaknesses.

  • Bonus program that focuses on successes.
  • Leadership training that allows employees to learn from each other.
  • Rewards for perfect work.
  • Employees are praised in public, reprimanded in private

Case Study: The results…

Ironically, in a recent meeting this client noted

  • This may be the best group of employees their company has ever had.
  • It is the largest group of employees the company has ever had.
  • Turnover is low.
  • Work efficiency numbers are at an all-time high.

There isn’t nearly as much magic in all of this as we are often led to believe, but it takes commitment and hard work to get there.  If you think you might be viewed as a “Bad Boss” (or know someone who is) maybe it is time to consider implementing these three strategies into your business?  Make your employees feel good about you and maybe your half full glass will be fuller too!   Please feel free to share your thoughts on this topic.  As always we value your comments and feedback.

Chris Steinlage Kansas City Business Coach