Be a Leader, Not a Boss: PartnerPath Offers 5 Tips

Channel Partners' Lynn Haber

Lynn Haber

Not everyone is cut out to be a boss and not everyone who is a boss makes the grade. It’s a tough job but someone’s got to do it and if you’re the one, there’s always room for improvement. For digital-service providers coping with a shortage of skilled IT professionals, research shows people join companies because of their mission and goals, but frequently leave them because of their bosses. Ouch.

Carol Giles Neslund, who last month joined PartnerPath as a principal, this week introduced herself to the company’s audience as the featured speaker on the “5 Ways to Be a Better Boss” webinar. She offered actionable ideas to help leaders and their teams be successful.

“It really boils down to this — if you want to be a better boss, be a leader, not a boss,” Neslund said. “Help your team succeed by engaging them in their work, tapping into their energy and enthusiasm for their work and for working together, and be sure that you’re energizing them and helping them understand how they can achieve and be successful in their job.”

PartnerPath's Carol Giles Neslund

PartnerPath’s Carol Giles Neslund

According to the oft-cited 201 Interact Report, the worst boss offenses are: not recognizing employee achievements (63 percent), not giving clear directions (57 percent), not having time to meet with employees (52 percent), refusing to talk to subordinates (51 percent), taking credit for others’ ideas (47 percent), not offering constructive criticism (39 percent), not knowing employees’ names (36 percent), refusing to talk to people on the phone/in person (34 percent), and not asking about employees’ lives outside of work (23 percent).

By contrast, here’s what leaders know how to do: communicate clear and consistent expectations; coach their teams with helpful feedback on how to succeed; demonstrate respect and express appreciation; manage consistently to get expected results; and leverage influence and power productively.

Neslund then took a deeper dive into the five ways to be a better boss, beginning with “communicate clearly and often.” That begins with having a vision for your team and being able to clarify how their work contributes to the company’s success. Another point she made is to set performance expectations that are SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and timely). Finally, a boss should be held accountable to same expectations he or she has for the team — in other words, walk the talk.

“The top performer tip for communicating clearly and often with your team is to establish a regular cadence for communicating with them,” she said. “The idea of this weekly one-on-one is to keep on top of important but not necessarily urgent matters.”

What does it mean to coach your team for success? According to Neslund, it’s about balancing positive and constructive feedback; making sure that your team has the skills, motivation and understands the urgency of …

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