Things You Shouldn’t Be Doing as a Boss

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When you are running your own business and employ staff, you have to learn how to trust them and give them space to do their work with clear guidance and instructions. If you are constantly treading on their toes then you will have them heading for the exit door faster than you can think. Here are six things that bosses need to consciously avoid doing:

  1. Comparing your current employee with a former superstar employee – If you are constantly banging on about how a previous hire knew everything about the company and everything about the job around employees you are going to lose the confidence they have in you, and in turn you will create unnecessary insecurities among employees that will be detrimental to the company.
  2. Playing Big Brother – If you watch and constantly keep up to date with what employees are doing inside and outside the company, you are going to be viewed as a busy body and a micro manager. Worst of all is monitoring the performance of employees in order to reprimand them. Performance management in reality is about trusting your employees to do a good job and giving them the tools they need to do their job effectively.
  3. Always talking about employees bad points – As a boss, it is your job to inspire and motivate your employees. If you are constantly berating them about their weaknesses, you aren’t doing anything positive. What you should be doing is leveraging their strengths with the company’s requirements. Weaknesses can be improved upon through internal and external training.
  4. Getting worked up about tiny things – If you spend more time picking faults in your employees work then you shouldn’t even be a boss. Every employee is unique and has their individual style. If their style isn’t negatively impacting profitability then that is a positive sign. As one Director I once spoke to said, “I don’t mind how an employee does their work, as long as they do it effectively and on time.”
  5. Stop making assumptions about employee engagement – Yes that word ‘engagement’. You here it a lot and you will hear it even more. Some people don’t understand what it means but it means a great deal more than just to motivate and inspire employees. As a boss, if you think that paying an employee a salary on time, giving them their holiday entitlement and providing them with a job is enough, you are wrong. Employees want something more than that but it is often the simplest things that can make a colossal difference. In a recent magazine interview, Marissa Mayer, CEO of Yahoo has cited the need to recognise what things matter to each individual employee and driving engagements efforts based on that. If spending more time with family matters to them then offer them flexible working.

The global economic depression has resulted in a lot of managerial shift. Managers have become younger and one criticism expressed by commentators is that this new generation of bosses does not have the neccessary skills required to create healthy and engaged workforces. What is required is to spend more time training would be managers in soft skills that will increasingly play an integral role in corporate training and development. From a board level perspective, training budgets should not be cut as the economic depression has seen, but boosted and prioritsed to the top of the corporate agenda.


3 for the week: Inspirational quotes to get you through the week – 11 February 2013

MOTIVATION: “True motivation comes from achievement, personal development, job satisfaction and recognition”.  – Frederick Herzeberg

SUCCESS: “The path to success is to take massive, determined action.” -Tony Robbins

LIFE & WISDOM: “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do.” – Mark Twain

The Most Inspiring Success Principle You Will Ever Read and Need

Inspiration 2

How do you motivate yourself?  For some people motivation flows naturally like a river. For others it is an elusive element in their lives. One thing I have learnt is that no matter how hard things get and in times of great need, it is often the words of others that can trigger a spark in you that can kick start your motivation and allow you to bounce back.  A blog post by Srini Rao ( has done just that for me. His post “Tips for Navigating the Waters of Life” is a tremendously inspiring and no nonsense look at dealing with life’s challenges. Below is a summarized version of the key points in his post.


  • Your instincts are almost always right
  • Your instincts are the higher self speaking
  • If you go against instinct you are likely to land yourself in a complete mess

 Be Wary of the Steps You Take

  • If you decide on something, be absolutely 100 per cent sure you can see it through
  • Know when it’s just time to bail out when you feel you can’t manage it

Be Present

  • Don’t worry about getting ahead of others, focus on what you are doing right now – play your own game
  • Be present and the rest will take care of itself
  • Being in the present will allow you to achieve peak performance
  • Don’t focus too much on the future and don’t get caught up in the past, this is a recipe for mediocrity

Erase Failure and Get Back Up

  • You’re ability to deal with failure and setback will determine whether or not you have what it takes to achieve what you are truly capable of in your life
  • Often the second wave of opportunity is better than the first so don’t beat yourself up. Your friends are on their first wave of opportunity
  • If you keep critiquing yourself with others then you are likely miss out on the second wave of opportunity which is often better than the first

Be Patient

  • There is no need to live life 100 mph, just slow down because you will get where you want to go much faster and you are less likely to suffer a setback

Small is Better

  • Don’t make gigantic leaps because it is the small things in life that make the big difference and you will spend less effort for more results

 Timing is Important

  • Take advantage of opportunities that may not be present in the good times.
  • Tough economic times often drive people towards innovation and breakthrough and this just happens to be timing at work

Wave Selection is the Key

  • The key to success in any area of life is dependent on the choices you make so choose wisely
  • Catching the right wave will enable you to catch one wave after another
  • Choose the wrong wave and you will have to endure a hard time and work extra hard to pull your head out of the water

Laugh and Smile Everyday

  • The age old saying, ‘laughter is the best medicine’ is still true
  • It is a medicine that you won’t find in any pharmacy and costs you absolutely nothing

Srini’s analogy of viewing life’s opportunities and chances as waves provides a fresh and sensible way of looking at life.  This may be the only success principle you need to follow. It has certainly allowed me to look at life from a different perspective, and it may do the same for you too.

Photo credit:  vagabond9

3 for the week: Inspirational quotes to get you through the week – 4 February 2013

MOTIVATION: “People often say that motivation doesn’t last. Well, neither does bathing – that’s why we recommend it daily.” – Zig Ziglar

SUCCESS: “Notice that the stiffest tree is most easily cracked, while the bamboo or willow survives by bending with the wind.” – Bruce Lee

LIFE & WISDOM: “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” – Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, 1986

Get the right mix to create the right team

Lizard BalanceHuman capital is one of the most critical areas of a business. In the midst of the talent war, it is now even more important than technology. What is even more important is the caliber of people in a company and the competencies they bring to the table. People are now are the main driver of a business. If companies are to thrive, they must take responsibility for realizing the potential of their staff. They must ensure that any training brings about clearly identifiable and measurable improvements in relevant skills and boosts productivity. However, a pre-condition for this is to have a balanced workforce. A quote by Management Today magazine (2006) captures the essence of this balance by indicating that, “to work well, any company needs a variety of functions – if they unite, it is a premiership side.” A strong team therefore, is made up of a balance of styles. Here are four teamwork styles and their characteristics:

TEAM STYLE 1: Routine Keeper – Tracks details, monitors deadlines, handles paperwork, keeps minutes.

TEAM STYLE 2: People Person – Communicates on multiple levels, builds relationships, brokers solutions, resolves conflicts.

TEAM STYLE 3: Analyst – Evaluates costs, risks and ROI of various options.

TEAM STYLE 4: Visionary – Sees the bigger picture, creates compelling business visions, keeps ahead of trends, thinks outside the box, takes advantage of opportunities.

A lack of styles in any company is likely lead to problems which is precisely why many people working together on teams have differences of opinion. So a company must put in place effective recruiting practices in line with its business objectives. Built on to this is a need for a proper understanding of how each individual works and more importantly what motivates them. When this happens, the company is on course to creating a good team with the right balance of skills and aptitudes.

3 for the week: Inspirational quotes to get you through the week – 28 January 2013

MOTIVATION: “Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars.” – Brian Littrell

SUCCESS: “The two most important requirements for major success are: first, being in the right place at the right time, and second, doing something about it” – Ray Kroc

LIFE & WISDOM: “The greatest mistake in life you can make is to be continually fearing you will make one.”   – Elbert Hubbard

Quick Tips for First Time Managers


Not all people are cut out to be managers. Many companies make the mistake of rushing a high potential employee into a management role, which somewhere later down the line result in problems among team members, and risks hurting the company’s brand. Here are some tips that first time managers can embrace to assist them in migrating towards their first management role.

Honestly is the best policy – Do not be afraid to ask your superior for advice or to admit you don’t know the answer. It’s a learning process that requires the careful guidance of a mentor

Work hard – Hard work is the single most important ingredient in any successful career, and if you have a strong work ethic you really can’t go wrong.

Delegate – Give your employees clear instructions but do not micromanage them. Learn to let go and trust other people to work for you. The best managers in the world are direct but don’t tread on other people’s toes. It’s a fine balancing act, and if you can do that you are on the right track.

Decision Making – Be ready to take decisions based on facts and anecdotal insight when you can’t be certain that you are right.

Understand the team –  Talk and listen to your team. Invest more time and effort in getting to know your team, and above all be approachable.

Attitude – Approach your first day in the role with a positive ‘can do’ attitude. Focus, context and communication must be the pillars on which to build managerial success, and do not be afraid of getting things wrong. Often to get 70% right, you need to get 30% wrong.

Difficulties  -Never walk away from confronting difficult issues. Spend at least an hour in a day one-to- one with your boss and with each team member of your team every week. Don’t forget to thank your team when they have earned it – give them the credit they deserve.

What managers ultimately fail to realize is that it is often very small things that can make a big difference to employees in their productivity and to their development as a manager. Incorporating all or some of the tips above will put the first time manager on a good footing.