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Oct 2016

In charge: What it means to be the ‘boss’


mature male boss contemplating

Every worker has experienced the pain of dealing with a poor manager. Those experiences can suck the joy out of any occupation. However, few employees know what it is like to actually be the boss. So, what makes a good boss? How does the boss dictate the attitude and boost the morale of the workplace? How does a boss develop a culture that revolves around safety? How does a boss become a leader?

How do workers feel about their bosses?

Horror stories about bosses abound. But how bad are they really? How do real workers in the United States feel about real bosses? Well, an article by compiled a series of statistics reflecting how workers in the United States feel about their supervisors. Here are a few of the highlights:

  1. 75% of employees claim that their boss is the worst part of their job.
  2. 65% of employees would rather have a new boss than get a raise.
  3. On average, companies in the United States are only 50% as productive as they could be. (Due to a lack of leadership).

Clearly, the general consensus regarding bosses in the United States is not a good one. So, how can this trend be reversed?

What makes a leader?

So what qualities make someone an effective leader? There are many, many different skills that make someone an effective leader. An article presented by CNN listed over 20 of these types of skills. The leadership characteristics in the article primarily revolve around ‘soft’ skills.  These are typically personality traits and interpersonal skills that make someone approachable, empathetic, humble and kind. However, ‘soft’ skills also include traits that root an individual in responsibility, honesty, and a hardworking mentality.  Managers should be visionaries, encouragers, and always looking to improve while still commending employees when jobs are done well. 

Being a leader revolves around the mastery of ‘soft skills’. Managers need to be able to carry out technical work, and possess the ‘hard skills’ necessary to do their job. Yet, it is the ‘soft skills’ that set apart everyday bosses from true leaders.

Leading towards safety

When it comes to safety, managers are the spark that can ignite change in the workplace. However, they also need to be the fuel that drives change onward. Building a culture of safety revolves around leadership towards the implementation of that culture. Here are some ways managers can personally impact the development of a safety-oriented culture:

  1. Be a visionary: Managers need to always see opportunities for improvement. This means bringing in new technology, revising and updating safety protocols, and routinely checking in with employees.
  2. Lead the Charge: Managers and supervisors are in their position for a reason; they are influential. Leaders should use their influence to incite and drive change in the workplace. This could mean participating in a wellness program, building healthy habits,  or simply reminding and encouraging employees. 
  3. Upgrade your Workplace: There are many ways that technology can be used to build a safety-oriented culture. For example, installing a safety scoreboard can remind employees about the importance of safety and it can build morale. What about security? Do your employees feel they are protected from outside threats? Consider all of these things. 
  4. Encourage Integration, Involvement, and Engagement: Employees need to be included in every step of building and implementing new safety programs. Every workplace should consult its workers. Identifying employee concerns and focusing on those areas is a great way to tackle the process of building a safety culture.

A good manager can be the difference between success and failure, and not only in the context of financial or professional improvement. Good leaders are the focal point of change; in any scenario. The workplace is no exception. Changing the safety culture in a work environment begins with leadership. Always.  

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