When it comes to your ideal employee, you probably have a clear idea of the strengths, skills and competencies you’re looking for. But do you know what your employees’ ideal boss looks like?
Recently, leadership training provider Dale Carnegie Training surveyed over 3,000 workers in 13 countries to produce a wish list for the ideal manager.
In every sector and every role, developing and growing is vital. And almost 80% of employees in the survey said they were inspired by leaders who encouraged them to continually improve - and just as importantly, made them believe they could improve.
In comparison, fewer staff wanted managers who seemed satisfied as long as a staff member was competent in their current role.
Clearly, if you feel appreciated you'll be more engaged and motivated to do your best work. Almost 75% of the study's respondents backed this up, saying one sign of a great leader was to give praise and show appreciation, rather than a pure focus on getting the job done.
The key message here is that to be an effective leader, you should value what your workers do - and show it.
If encouraging improvement is important, so is being able to spot when a team member has actually upped their game. For over 70% of employees who took part in this research, an important leadership trait was acknowledging a boost in staff performance.
Over half of workers said they were more likely to be motivated by a manager who singled out improvement with specific praise, rather than someone who dished out tangible rewards only.
Being self-assured and authoritative are leadership must-haves. But humility and honesty count for a lot, too.
Can you recognise your own shortfalls? Do you have the confidence to admit when you’ve made mistakes yourself, rather than looking to blame others?
Almost 70% of employees in the survey pinpointed these as important attributes for an effective leader.
Mistakes happen in every business. What counts is how you as a manager deal with them - and how you treat staff who’ve blundered.
Embarrassing someone in public for making an error is a sure-fire way to demoralise and demotivate not just that person but also your whole team.
As 60% of workers surveyed pointed out, it’s preferable to have a leader who draws someone’s attention to a mistake tactfully or indirectly and gives them a chance to fix the situation – thereby saving face. It’ll also mean you’re fostering a workplace in which people feel safe to learn and improve – as well as yes, to make mistakes.
When the survey respondents were asked if their own leaders had the qualities on their wish list, there was a big gap. Sadly, many of the attributes employees rated seemed to be the ones managers showed least often.
For example, although 84% of employees wanted managers to admit to their mistakes, only 51% said this was the case in their workplace.
And while 87% thought it was vital for bosses to show sincere appreciation to workers, just 61% said this actually happened for them.
Why is it important to know what people value in an ideal boss, and act on it? Because employees perform better, are more satisfied with their job and more likely to stay loyal to an employer if they’re managed well.
In our work at HR GO matching businesses with their ideal candidates, we know how key leadership is. It’s also very clear it’s a competitive marketplace, with companies vying to attract top talent.
So if you can attempt to measure up to your employees’ standards, it’ll help you attract and retain the best people who can help your business grow into the next decade - and beyond.