The Boss report: 2006 | 2005
Intro | The vanishing boss | The leader of tomorrow | Staying healthy | Tricks for communicating | How to exude power
Think you want to be the boss? Here are seven dirty little secrets you need to know about your soon-to-be employees, according to Jocelyn Bérard, DDI Canada's managing director.
– Your former co-workers are no longer your friends. Get over it. You have to treat everyone the same and hold all of your former peers accountable for their performance. “If you think some of your peers are not at ease or are jealous, talk about it with them,” Bérard says. “Be authentic and address the issue openly.”
– Who's laughing now? Workers aren't laughing along with your crazy antics — they're laughing at you. Always be professional and you won't become gossip fodder à la Donald Trump, Martha Stewart or Dilbert's pointy-haired boss.
– More than 20% of employees say their greatest hesitation in becoming a boss is being perceived as incompetent. Perhaps that's because they know nearly one-third of employees spend at least 20 hours a month bitching about their boss's skills, or lack thereof.
– Want them to stop complaining? The most important thing a new boss can do, Bérard says, is consult employees about what the company — and, by extension, you — should be doing differently. Giving employees some input reduces stress about the changeover.
– An effective leader makes sure employees have a chance to show off their stuff. Let them fight a few battles on their own and grab the spotlight; otherwise, they'll be taking their act somewhere else. “It's not about you looking good now,” Bérard says. “That doesn't mean you need to hide, but avoid being attention seeking.”
– DDI surveys show bosses put the bottom line at the top of their priority list, while employees put it dead last. A leader has to be able to reconcile these differing viewpoints and make the bottom line relevant to everyone.
– Don't expect employees to give you much grace time to establish your authority and skills. You might have about two months. “People won't give you a year to judge whether you are tap-dancing here or if are you really solid,” Bérard says.