BY ROBIN PAGGI Contributing columnist
If you want to be among those mentioned on one of the "Best Bosses of the Year" lists, you should probably not choke your employees or rub dirt in their faces.
According to the New York Daily News, American Apparel CEO Dov Charney is being sued by a former employee who alleges he did just that. Michael Bumblis, the former employee, claims that Charney "dove" at him and started squeezing his throat "in an attempt to choke and strangle him." Later, Charney rubbed dirt in Bumblis' face, causing his "head and neck to snap backwards," the worker alleges.
And, this was after Charney had been named one of America's worst bosses in 2011 on eBoss Watch, an online career resource that allows people to anonymously rate their bosses, because of numerous harassment lawsuits.
Instead, you should do what those named on the Biz (941) Best Bosses 2012 list did, which, according to an article by Molly McCartney on www.biz941.com, include:
Constantly interacting with staff. The employees of the Pines of Sarasota, a non-profit assisted living and skilled nursing facility, nominated their boss, John Overton, to be on the list because of his passion and communication skills. "You can't see what's going on if you aren't out greeting employees on their turf," said Overton. "The only effective answers come from within the organization with the folks who are doing the work." In addition to interacting with his staff, Overton is also recognized for giving others credit and applause.
Helping employees improve. Dulsy Kushmore, the owner of the discount prescription company Canada Med Services, was nominated by her employees "for believing in them, helping them advance, and supporting community causes." Said one employee, "I know she always has my back." Kushmore invests in her employees by sending them to training courses to improve their skills, even if that means they end up moving on. "If they get better at doing things, they may be eligible for a more important job. I tell them it's OK," Kushmore said.
Showing appreciation. Sheril and Greg Burkhart of Key Glass are on the list because they "never miss a chance to tell their 49 employees how much they are appreciated." One way of showing their employees their appreciation is by cooking for them at their annual summer barbecues. Another thing their employees like is the Burkharts encourage them to express their ideas and make suggestions. "We have a family atmosphere here," said Greg.
Fostering goodwill. ShelterBox USA President Emily Sperling is credited by her staff members for creating an environment that allows them to capably handle stressful situations. ShelterBox is an international relief organization that sends survival items to victims of floods, earthquakes and other disasters. After the 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Japan, "There were 12-hour days and seven-day work weeks," said one employee. "Emily kept morale up by bringing in breakfasts, listening, trusting, and creating a work-hard, play-hard environment."
Being transparent. Transparency is the real key to being a good boss, according to James Williamson, founding partner of Methodfactory, a software development company. "I want everybody to know what is expected of them, and I want them to know how their contributions affect the company," said Williamson. Being transparent means holding monthly staff meetings with 45-minute open conversations between employees, Williamson and his partners. "We cover what happened last month, sales possibilities on the horizon, and everyone's internal projects so that everybody is informed," he said. His employees also appreciate Williamson for supporting their professional and personal goals and rewarding them with an annual company trip to a sporting event.
So, interacting with employees, helping them improve, showing appreciation, fostering goodwill, and letting them know what's going on with the company will help you be a best boss. Choking employees and rubbing dirt in their faces -- not so much.
Robin Paggi is the Training Coordinator at Worklogic HR Legal Solutions. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. These are her opinions, not necessarily those of The Californian.