THE MANILA TIMES
Business Times p.B1
Saturday, August 1, 2009
LEARNING & INNOVATION
By Moje Ramos-Aquino, Fpm
From 'jerk boss' to real leaders
So you're stuck with a "jerk boss" but you need the job or you are a "jerk boss" yourself and want to atone for your misdeeds. What to do?
Ken Lloyd says that when you treat your employees well, they'll treat you right in return, by increasing their productivity.
I am billeted in a boutique hotel here in Bajada, Davao . I could tell from the way the employees (front desk and coffee shop) render service that they have "jerk bosses." Service is super slow, it took them one hour to cook the salpicao I ordered (or, maybe they do their marketing only when somebody orders food). When I asked for a TV remote control, they simply told me to transfer to a suite room because they do not provide remote control for standard rooms. Eventually, they gave me a remote control. Uh-uh!
Next morning I ordered breakfast, room service. The food came, no water. When I got back from my workshop, I opened the door and I was confronted with the smell of old food, remnants of my breakfast. They have not cleaned the room because I did not leave my key at the front desk. Whaaaaaaaaaaaat? I was brushing my teeth when I noticed the toiletry basket lining moving. Guess what? A BIGGGG cockroach. I called the Front Desk and after about 10 minutes, a cleaning guy came, caught the critter and gave me back the basket and toiletry. I told him to get me a new set because the cockroach was all over the place before he caught it.
When you encounter uncaring service givers you are sure that they have "jerk bosses."
For their employees to build self-esteem, have job satisfaction and give excellent customer service, jerk bosses need to convert to real leaders. Let's take some cues from Ken Lloyd and his book 151 Quick Ideas to Recognize and Reward Employees. These are good suggestions especially for small and medium enterprises (SMEs).
• Walk through your entire work area every day. Acknowledge all of your employees, and spend a few minutes talking with some of them, but not the same employees every day. Try to discover those special accomplishments or developments that merit extra recognition and provide it.
• Look over individual performance and consider adding some new and more accurate titles to reward employees who have clearly surpassed all expectations. In addition, consider placing such words as "lead," "senior," and "executive" in front of existing titles as warranted by their performance.
• Pick at least 10 items that would be excellent for your employees, whatever works best from a cool gift certificate to cold cash. Then, whenever you walk around your employees' work areas, have at least one spot bonus with you. Try to be extra observant and make it your goal to give out to deserving employees at least one spot bonus at a time over the next two weeks. Be sure to offer hearty congratulations and thanks. If there are other employees around, that's even better. Spot bonuses are good to reduce spotty performances.
• Future managers and supervisors tend to learn most of their leadership skills from their own manager, typically through day-to-day interactions. You are your employees' role model. Think about what you would teach your employees if you were to do so in a classroom. Develop a list of managerial skills where your expertise is particularly strong, and then develop a lesson plan to teach your employees in each of these areas. You can conduct one-hour classes once or twice a week in your own office or conference room. Include homework and exams. Employees feel rewarded and special when selected to attend. They enjoy having the opportunity to learn and grow and their inclusion implies that management recognizes them, respects them, and has positive expectations for them. Beyond the intangible rewards, cap the learning sessions with a graduation ceremony for those who completed the full program. Reward each graduate with a framed personalized diploma designation that they are certified supervisors and managers for your company.
• Look for employees who are doing well and are often approached by others for advice and help. They are the natural leaders who you should consider for mentoring new hires or employees who are having problems with their productivity. Offer these mentors the opportunity plus a pay increase or specified bonus every time they act as mentors.
These are ways to motivate your team at little or no cost and shed your "jerk boss" persona. Let's have more.