Your small business is going to need a lot from you post-lockdown. Are you an emotionally intelligent boss?
The worst boss I ever had once threatened to put his cigarette out in my forehead.
The second worst boss I ever had gave me an assignment one time that literally would require a month to complete. She demanded it be done in two days. So, two days later, disheveled and exhausted, I walked into her office and turned in a scattershot, terrible, 1/10 done assignment.
“I was just testing you,” she said.
The best boss I ever had saw something in me I didn’t even see, and he helped me get published for the first time. Other bosses were great too. The best ones made me a better employee, and person. They challenged me to step up my game.
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Bosses are sort of like Goldilocks’ porridge – when they are good, they are very good, but when they are bad, they are awful.
So, which are you?
It is not an insignificant question, especially in this post-pandemic world we are entering into where employees have gotten used to working from home, being on their own, making their own schedule, not commuting and having more flexibility.
Indeed, recent surveys indicate that nearly 30% of employees would rather quit than go back to the office full time.
Why is that? Certainly, the flexibility that has come with working from home on one’s own has been a welcome change for many people. But it is likely equally true that many people do not want to go back to the days of the demanding, annoying, micromanaging (take your pick) bosses.
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Am I exaggerating? You tell me: According to a 2018 Forbes.com article, a survey found that a majority of employees said that they trust strangers more than they did their own bosses. And not insignificantly, that same article notes another survey stating that 79% of employees who quit note a “lack of appreciation” as their main reason.
Small business owners and managers are going to have to up their game if they hope to retain, let alone attract, top talent. The days of the top down, my-way-or-the-highway manager seems to be gone another casualty of the COVID-19 pandemic.
All of which begs the question: What is actually going to be required of the post-COVID boss? Will it be great tech skills, bravado in the face of challenges or what?
Let me suggest that the answer is emotional intelligence (EI).
According to Healthline, emotional intelligence consists of five things:
In a work world where employees have been through the ringer over the past year, where they have serious issues outside of work, where they have maybe learned they do not need constant supervision and feedback to be successful, and where they have learned to like their flexibility, new skills are going to be required of bosses.
Empathy, strength, clarity, compassion and leadership are what will be needed.
Yes, those things have always been needed in a boss, but in a world where employees are wiling to quit if they do not get the work situation they want, those sort of emotional intelligence traits are going to be more important than ever.
And anyway, it sure beats yelling at someone, thinking that’s the best way to motivate them.
Steve Strauss is an attorney, speaker and the author of 17 books, including “The Small Business Bible.” You can learn more about Steve at MrAllBiz.com, get more tips at his site TheSelfEmployed and connect with him on Twitter @SteveStrauss and on Facebook at TheSelfEmployed.
The views and opinions expressed in this column are the author’s and do not necessarily reflect those of USA TODAY.
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