A recent study conducted by LinkedIn asked participants—over 2,000 working professionals—what skills they desired most in their bosses. The results yielded a clear “top 5” list of qualities that people most want to see their bosses exhibit.
- Problem solving: what your employees most want to see is a boss who models effective problem solving skills. This entails clearly defining the essence of a problem and engaging your employees in a dialogue about how to uncover an effective go-forward strategy for solving it. Discuss how the problem arose, if similar issues have arisen in the past, what has and has not worked, and fill in the blanks whenever possible based on your own experience. Here’s the real kicker: as a good boss, you will not only address the problems your employees bring to your attention, but you will also identify problems your employees don’t even know they have. This will help them get to the real root of the issue. From there, try to guide your employee to a solution, such that they will be able to self-sufficiently uncover solutions to similar problems that arise in the future.
- Time management: not only will your employees benefit from a boss who sets a good example for managing their time, but they will also take that boss more seriously than one who unnecessarily wastes time. For example, if you lead long, tangential meetings and/or discussions, your employees will tune out. If, however, your communication is straightforward and to the point, your employees will have more respect for what you have to say and will be more likely to absorb the information you’re relaying. Given how busy you presumably are, managing your time efficiently is crucial on multiple levels.
- Decisiveness: your ability to make decisions—even unpopular ones—will give your employees confidence in and respect for your leadership. If you make a wrong decision, you can still demonstrate good leadership by taking responsibility for the mistake, analyzing your judgment that led you to make it, and rethinking how you can do things differently in the future. Your employees will still respect you, far more than they would had you not made any decision at all.
- Empathy: the capacity to resonate with your employees’ feelings goes a long way. It demonstrates your ability to see things from their perspective and put yourself in their shoes. More importantly, it shows that you care.
- Compassion: a fine distinction from empathy, compassion is defined as having concern for someone. A 2014 biology article in the ScienceDirect Journal clarifies, “compassion is feeling for and not feeling with the other [person].” Being compassionate is another great way to show you care about your employees, especially when you can’t relate to the exact situation they’re in.