What Makes a Good Boss?

What Makes a Good Boss?

By Sonda Sorg, Metro Market Manager, Robert Half, Indianapolis

87% of Indianapolis professionals said they are happy with their boss, topping the charts as the most satisfied market of all 28 cities surveyed by staffing firm OfficeTeam. In addition to Indianapolis, Salt Lake City, Chicago, Los Angeles and Miami were most pleased with their boss, while those in Boston, Phoenix, Washington, D.C., Cincinnati and Detroit were least satisfied with their managers.

Being a manager can be a demanding role, from making hiring decisions to making sure teams run smoothly. A bad boss, however, can send workers running for the hills. At 3.5%, Indianapolis’ unemployment rate is indicative of a particularly tight job market where employers are experiencing significant hiring challenges. Retention is top of mind for most employers going into 2019, and it’s more critical than ever to have solid leadership in place to attract and retain talent employees. Employee engagement and satisfaction levels must be a focal point for companies to remain competitive today. So, what is it about local leadership that has workers so happy – and why does workplace happiness matter?

What It Means to Work Happy

Workplace happiness can sometimes be viewed by employers as an abstract, touchy-feely, intangible concept. But the reality is that happy workers aren’t just nice to have – they’re better for business. They’re more productive and loyal. They’re even healthier. Being “happy” at work doesn’t mean every day is perfect or fun – it’s a deep feeling of satisfaction and meaning generated by doing a good job. In a Robert Half study of 12,000 workers across North America, we learned that three main factors determine whether professionals experience on-the-job happiness:

  • Feeling appreciated for the work they do
  • Being treated with fairness and respect
  • A sense of accomplishment from their work

While much of workplace happiness hinges on being at the right organization and in the right position, employers play a huge role in fostering these three key drivers in the workplace. From recognition programs to robust compensation packages, employers need to promote a positive culture to attract and retain great people.

Local Employers Making Strides

Indy tops the charts when it comes to workers who are happy with their bosses, but why? Three words: work-life balance. Seventy-five percent of Indianapolis workers recently surveyed by Robert Half rated their work-life balance as good to excellent – and employees who felt they achieved balance between work and home were two times more likely to be happy at work compared to those who reported they didn’t. In another survey, 9 of 10 (91%) workers said their manager is very or somewhat supportive of their efforts to achieve work-life balance.

In the past, work-life balance used to mean ending work and leaving the office at 5 PM. These days, it could mean enjoying a compressed work week, the ability to work remotely or having a flexible schedule that allows professionals to step in and out of work to address personal responsibilities throughout the day. Smart employers understand that their staff’s performance isn’t contingent on how many hours they spend at the office.

Tips for Managers

Even though Indy bosses are earning top marks from staff, it’s important that they continue to develop and improve relationships with their team, as it can have a significant impact on morale.

A good boss:

  • Has good communication skills: Keeps the lines of communication open with their employees.
  • Provides guidance: Good leaders recognize strengths and weaknesses and offer direction and support.
  • Recognizes employees: Shows appreciation for worker contributions consistently.
  • Builds a personal relationship and happy work environment: Establishing a good rapport goes a long way. Identify ways to create a happy work environment, which will also be a positive reflection on you as the team leader.

A bad boss:

  • Is generally unreachable: Staff who can’t count on a timely reply to their emails or voicemails are likely to be continually frustrated and may eventually seek greener pastures.
  • Micromanages everyone: Whether you intend it or not, micromanaging shows people that you don’t believe they can make good decisions on their own, and that you wonder if they have the necessary skills for the job.
  • Treats workers like they’re interchangeable: Employees aren’t looking for a best friend in their boss. But they do want to work for someone who makes them feel appreciated and treats them like individuals.
  • Plays favorites: Always favoring certain employees for promotions and assignments is a surefire way to make other employees feel unsatisfied in their positions.

The Bottom Line

A manager can make or break a team. Why do good people leave? Because they often feel stifled and plateaued at their current place of work. It’s sometimes said that people don’t quit companies, they quit bosses. Managers, take steps to ensure you’re fostering a positive culture for your staff and offering the individuals on your team the resources they need to work happy. Your happy workforce will stick around and make real, tangible contributions to the organization.

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