Are you a good boss?

At my first job, I was working under a chronic fault-finder. And when he did find fault, he was generous with temper tantrums which involved foul language and public shaming.

Naturally, motivation was always low and employee turnover rate was abysmally high in his department. I had worked at the company for all of six months by the time I tendered in my resignation.

These memories came flooding in my mind yesterday when Rita, a close friend was telling me about her awful boss.

This man intentionally frustrated her pursuit of further studies because “when people get Master’s Degrees they feel high.”

‘Feel high’ means that employees will have better career prospects and they will demand a higher pay. So he personally ensured that she stagnated so that she would always desperately need her current job.

And I know that he probably thinks that his actions are in the best interest of the company. The bosses who yell at, embarrass, overwork and underpay their employees think they are doing it for the company’s sake.

They are want results. They want to avoid costs. They want profits. And while the goal is good, the means usually work in reverse.

Employees are people. People with needs. People with interests. People with problems. People with personalities. People with egos. People with people (families, friends, social networks.)

So they need a boss who is a human being not some robot that doesn’t ‘allow’ them to fall sick.

They don’t want a robot that’s ends out a threatening email whenever someone misses a day of work because they suddenly found themselves without childcare options.

Employees do not want a boss who commands fear. They don’t want a boss who when he is in the room, they hold their breath like they are in a hostage situation. They can’t look him in the eye. When they speak they almost mumble. And the boss fools himself into thinking that this is a sign of respect.

Instead, what employees need is a boss who is not too conceited to strike up a conversation, smile, crack a joke, or remember names.

But above all, employees need respect. When you hire someone, unless you deliberately hired an incompetent person because of nepotism, it is enough to set targets and trust them to do a good job by delegating rather than micromanaging.

And if you want innovative employees, you need to have a two-way communication instead of doing all the talking.

It doesn’t matter how experienced or exposed you are, you can’t know everything. And if you do know more than all your employees then that right there is a problem.

If you are a boss, you are no more doing someone a favor by employing them than they are doing you a favor by working for you.

It’s mutually beneficial. So treat your employees better. As renowned businessman Richard Branson once said: “If you take care of your employees, they will take care of your business.”