I often have to remind the dedicated, smart CEOs I work with that leading takes time and energy. Directing the feelings, attitudes, actions, and behaviors of a team is a big task. Often, I also hear the secrets of these CEOs' employees, about what truly aggravates them and what they love about their bosses. To keep top executives on track, I've created this list of what employees want their leaders to do.
1. Tell me my role, tell me what to do, and give me the rules. Micromanaging? No, it's called clear direction. Give them parameters so they can work within broad outlines.
2. Discipline my coworker who is out of line. Time and time again, I hear, 'I wish my boss would tell Nancy that this is just unacceptable.' Hold people accountable in a way that is fair but makes everyone cognizant of what is and isn't acceptable.
3. Get me excited. About the company, about the product, about the job, about a project. Just get them excited.
4. Don't forget to praise me. Motivate employees by leveraging their strengths, not harping on their weaknesses.
5. Don't scare me. They really don't need to know about everything that worries you. They respect that you trust them, but you are the boss. And don't lose your temper at meetings because they didn't meet your expectations. It's often not productive. Fairness and consistency are important mainstays.
6. Impress me. Strong leaders impress their staffs in a variety of ways. Yes, some are great examples of management, but others are bold and courageous, and still others are creative and smart. Strong leaders bring strength to an organization by providing a characteristic that others don't have and the company sorely needs.
7. Give me some autonomy. Give them something interesting to work on. Trust them with opportunity.
8. Set me up to win. Nobody wants to fail. Indecisive leaders who keep people in the wrong roles, set unrealistic goals, keep unproductive team members, or change direction unfairly just frustrate everybody and make people feel defeated.
Your job is to make it practical for people to succeed. When you do this, everybody wins.
For over a decade, Melissa Raffoni has worked directly with more than 100 CEOs as president of Raffoni CEO Consulting. She has served on the faculty at MIT's Sloan School and Harvard's Kennedy School. Melissa holds an MS in Corporate Strategy and Managerial Communication from the MIT Sloan School and a BA in Economics from Colby College.