Most people would love to work for the “perfect” boss. Obviously, this is a tall order. However, it is possible to cultivate and leverage supportive leadership to improve your on-the-job performance.
How Can a Supportive Boss Improve My Career?
A Better Work Culture
According to Satya Nadella, the current CEO of Microsoft. “Leaders need to … create an environment where everyone can do his or her best work.” In supportive cultures, individual’s strengths are emphasized over weaknesses. Workers are encouraged to try new things while mistakes are viewed as part of the learning process. These types of companies usually boast superior innovation, increased output and higher retention rates. Doesn’t that sound like a great place to build your career?
Room for Growth
Effective leaders are willing to offer advice and feedback. A pat on the back is nice, but a supportive boss will provide constructive criticism too. After all, we all need to improve our performance, work harder or update a skill set now and then. Organizations that promote ongoing learning opportunities, regular evaluations and mentorship programs will push you to advance and achieve.
Greater Job Satisfaction
Supportive leaders view loyalty as a two-way street. They are accessible and open, and they seek to reduce workplace stress and ease fears about job security. It is no surprise that if you enjoy your work you are likely to be more creative and motivated. As a bonus, there are numerous studies linking job satisfaction to long-term health benefits. (CBS News, 2016)
How Can I Find a Better Boss?
Adjust to Your Leader’s Style
Although this may sound frustrating, a better boss may start with you. Different leaders have different management styles and communication preferences. Maybe your supervisor prefers emails over phone calls or weekly updates versus daily check-ins. Try to figure out what works best and adjust accordingly.
Build a Relationship
If your boss seems distant and unhelpful, make it a point to ask, “What can I do to make a greater contribution to this organization?” This question will demonstrate your interest and dedication. Hopefully, it also will encourage your supervisor to invest in you and to open lines of communication.
Research Other Options
You may have tried the tactics above and had no luck. In that case, it may be time to look for greener pastures. But (and this is important), do your homework before you jump. You don’t want to find yourself back at square one. Network with other people in your field. Find out which companies have good reputations when it comes to working conditions and which ones do not. Continue your investigation throughout the interview process. Inquire about management styles and organizational culture to determine if a position is a good fit before you accept an offer.
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