The boss, or supervisor, should be on good terms with his or her workers, and not let the power-disparity prevent employees from confronting him or her with anything. Fear should not be an obstacle between them and “the man.”
Yes, the supervisor must maintain an arm’s length from his underlings for purposes of respect, but you should remember the old Machiavellian verse: “Those who draw landscapes place themselves below in the plain to contemplate the nature of the mountains… and in order to contemplate the plains place themselves upon high mountains.” Find the Goldilocks area of familiarity. Remember, you can gauge someone’s character better from their perspective.
Insist on using a first-name basis, and don’t feel like you’re beyond small-talk. An approachable boss is an encouraging one. A page can also be taken from the books of Japan Airlines CEO, Haruka Nishimatsu, who in 2009 famously took a pay cut in order to save his company from financial trouble. Nishimatsu unmounted the CEO high horse and put himself in his employees’ shoes.
This tactic is an old favourite, and for good reason–nobody wants a run-of-the-mill job. Bonuses make for a competitive, challenging workspace that makes people feel important. Tailor the incentive scheme so as to not lose profit—reward employees for making the highest number of sales, or for every “x” completed, an employee receives “y.”
This is not a new idea–Motivation Theory has long been in the indexes of psychology text books. Repetitive action-reward combinations cause the action to become habit.
Motivation always comes from two sources: oneself, and other people – intrinsic and extrinsic motivation, respectively.
To loosen up friction between employees, it’s often necessary to have stress-free activities. A simple beer after work would suffice, but fun can be had in the occasional casual Friday. Team-based endeavours also help build chemistry between people. College basketball coaches, for instance, take their squad out for pizza after a gruelling match. Here, the old ethos ring true: all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.
Field Your Best Squad
This doesn’t mean using benching as punishment. It simply means playing each player to their strengths; no Guard should be playing Forward, unless circumstance calls for it. Barcelona football ex-coach, Josep Guardiola, milked the most from his team by employing a formation system called “total football”, whereby most players can play multiple positions, allowing for versatility, and a more astute understanding of other teammates’ positions and requirements.
Promote where and when possible. You should be vigilant about which employee seems bored with the task at hand, but you should decide whether that person is either unmotivated, or beyond the job assigned. If a complete promotion is impossible, perhaps assigning them additional work would work.
All in all, you can help make a positive work-space by leading by example: encouraging creativity, valuing ideas, making room to grow, rewarding good work, creating cohesion, and engendering respect.