Being a boss is a full-time job and requires certain activities every day—and by every day, I mean every single day including Fridays.
If you want to be good at your job, here are three easy-to-implement behaviors that are essential to demonstrate on a daily basis:
1. Walk the Floor
This part is easy: Walk the floor. Literally.
Every day you need to make a concerted effort to walk around the office. Just walk around to people’s desks. Say hi. Comment on the picture on their desk. Ask what they are working on—or don’t say anything at all. Just smile.
Your job is not to be a boss at this moment. Your job is simply to be human. Your goal is to be available and foster an environment of openness and human interest. You are opening the lines of communication simply by walking the floor. It’s likely that people will approach you with a question or a comment. They will show you something you wouldn’t have otherwise seen. Advantage: you.
2. Say Thank You
Saying thank you is basically the easiest thing in the world to do and as a boss, you should say thank you as often as possible. Don’t fall into the trap of feeling like you are annoying someone by taking up their time or filling space in their email inbox. There is no such thing as a meaningless thank you.
When someone sends you a report, reply with a quick thanks. It doesn’t have to be a “Dear Justin, thank you for sending me this report” essay. Instead, keep it simple. A quick thanks via email or hallway shout-out is all that is required to make someone on your team feel valued, acknowledged, and motivated.
When appropriate it is always a good idea to add some context to your reply in order to give it more meaning and sincerity. “Thanks for sending over early.” “Great format—super easy to read!” In so doing you are reinforcing good behaviors and thus your expression of specific gratitude becomes a subtle teaching moment.
3. Be Specific
Being specific is at the very center of being an effective leader for your team on a day-to-day basis.
Be specific with what time you want a project finished. Be specific with how you want the form filled out. Be specific with the feedback you give someone. Be specific with everything you do as a boss.
If you are lazy and unspecific in your requests to your team, then you are increasing the chances that the work won’t get done in the manner in which you prefer, and as a result you are going to start resenting and disliking your team. The only problem is, it isn’t their fault. It’s your fault. Give the people what they want: clear, simple direction which includes all the information they need to complete the task at hand.
If you forget to include where you want the file to be saved, how you want the information formatted or when you need the forms completed, you are going to cause extra work for you and your team, resulting in everyone working late.
In How to Write an Email, I share one of my favorite secrets to success: ask for projects to be finished at an exact and unusual time: 4:36 P.M. instead of 5 P.M. Never use EOD (end of day) because EOD means something different to each person on your team and this is only going to lead to confusion, frustration, and lost time in asking more questions about when you actually need the project finished.
With these simple moves, you’re on your way to being a great leader.
Justin Kerr is a self-described “efficiency monster” and the author of the best selling books How to Write an Email and How to Be a Boss. He is a high-flying executive who loves to spread his unique gospel of efficiency through over-communication. Listen to his all-about work podcast (MR CORPO) or learn more about his books and speaking engagements at mrcorpo.com.
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