Does it ever seem like your boss isn’t doing his job? Do you feel that your immediate supervisor is shirking her responsibilities? Do you ever think that without you, nothing would get done at work? If you are a manager or supervisor, do you ever wonder what your employees think of you? Do you care? You should!

If you don’t know what your boss does, or you don’t know what your employees think of you, the environment in your workplace lacks leadership and communication. But, you already knew that! The question is: “What can you do about it?”

Firstly, in all companies, large and small, employees often have very little knowledge of what their immediate superiors are supposed to do in the course of the day. They have no idea if their boss is working and contributing to the company or not. In the worst of companies, the problem is so pronounced that employees can routinely be overheard saying things like, “He does absolutely nothing all day; She just talks on the phone all day; He has no interest in anything that goes on here; She doesn’t care about us; Our manager only thinks about himself.” When communication is at its worst, these things will be said whether the boss is working or not. The people that work in that kind of environment will never achieve the level of performance that they could if they had open, honest communication with their managers and receptive, selfless leadership from those in charge. So, how can YOU improve an organization with poor leadership?

To the managers and supervisors of the world: You should strive to be a leader first and a manager second! Your job is to lead your employees to better performance so that your company or organization can be the best in its field. If you have done the easiest part of your job, your employees already know the fundamentals and complexities of their jobs...they do not need instruction or criticism from you...they need your encouragement and support. Most importantly they need to know how you feel about the job they are doing and they want to know more about what YOU are doing to help the company succeed. Tell them what your job is all about; tell them about your fears and trepidations; tell them about some of the problems you encounter in your job. Bottom line...Talk to them! Stop telling your people how busy you are and how other things are more important than their problems. Instead, tell them how valuable they are and how impressed you are with the job they do. Honest, positive communication is the key to any good relationship and a working relationship is no different. Be vulnerable, be open, communicate, communicate, communicate! Only then will you be viewed as a leader.

To the employees of the world: If your boss is not working with you or is actually preventing you from being successful or simply getting your job done, you need to summon up all of your courage and communicate directly with her. Ask politely what you should reasonably expect of her. Ask if you can share some of your perceptions of her leadership style. Tell her how her actions impact upon you. Open, honest communication is the only way to break down a wall of negative energy. Be sincere, be vulnerable, and be polite. Your kindness and willingness to share your feelings will be recognized by your boss and with good fortune, they will be returned in kind. Oh, and don’t be afraid to offer to help your boss with his job. Instead of complaining about his indifference or lack of availability, offer your services to help him get through a big project or a mountain of paperwork. He will appreciate your generosity and selflessness.

Nobody, not even the most aloof or indifferent boss, gets up in the morning wanting to do a poor job or to be disrespected. If a manager is not aware of his or her failings, he or she will continue to fail. It is the responsibility of all workers at all levels in every organization to work as a team to create a great result. Open, honest communication by everyone on the team is the key that will unlock the door to success.

Wayne Kehl