Is it better to be loved or feared? Michael Corleone grabbled with that question, and even asked his mother for the answer.
While some bosses might prefer the latter, most would prefer for their employees to enjoy working for them. After all, that leads to better morale.
Yet being a boss who everyone loves to work for doesn’t necessarily mean you let employees do whatever they want. If you’re unsure where to begin, try taking a page from the Buddha.
In their book “Being Buddha at Work,” Franz Metcalf and BJ Gallagher list five techniques from the Buddha that will help make sure that your employees have high morale yet stay productive:
- Assign work that employees can manage, but be wary of making things too easy. Make sure to build enough challenge into each assignment so that the employee’s interest is maintained.
- Give employees food and money. Larger employers provide a company cafeteria, and smaller ones have lunchrooms with refrigerators and microwaves. As for the monetary side of things, pay your employees well and care for them if you expect them to care for you and the work.
- Support employees in sickness. If you give employees care and respect when they are sick, they will gratefully return it many times over when they come back to work.
- Share special delicacies. A little something extra every so often is a great way to let people know you appreciate them and their work. Whether it’s a bonus or just some great food you discovered, these rewards are highly reinforcing.
- Grant employees leave when appropriate. As much as we would like to believe it, people are not machines. Special circumstances require benevolence and flexibility in allowing time away from work, whether it’s a loss in the family, maternity leave, or just a sabbatical to refresh and recharge.