If you’re the boss, how do you relate to the team? Do
you get them to do things? Motivate them? Or, do you see your role as the team
member with the specific job of making sure that the team and the team members
When I did the original research that resulted in my Working Supervisor’s Support Kit, I compared top performing
supervisors with their less effective peers. The top performers did several
things that helped them create great working environments. And their language
reflected a different way of thinking.
“I’ve got to get Tom to improve his reports.”
“I’ve got to talk to Tom about improving his reports.”
Look at the two statements above. Most of my top performers would say
something like the ”talk to” version. It’s language that places the boss in the
team, not outside it. That’s where I think a leader should be.
To get an idea of where you are, inside or outside, listen to your own
language, especially the language that runs through your head. If you decide you
want to move from the outside to the inside, do some of the things that great
bosses do to create a great working environment.
Start by touching base a lot. That’s the key behavior that lays the
groundwork for everything else. It helps you catch problems when they’re small
and it sets you up to have conversations.
Have real conversations with other team members. Some will be about work.
Many will not. The ones about work should help the other team member and the
team do better. The ones that are not should be about the things that real
people talk about everywhere.
Boss’s Bottom Line
Real conversations help you establish yourself as a member of the team, the
one with the specific job of being the boss.