In 2006, film adaptation of The Devil Wears Prada was released to global acclaim. Meryl Streep’s portrayal of the sharp, omnipotent Miranda Priestly opposite Anne Hathaway’s role as her subjugated assistant, Andy Sachs gained a cult following. Set in the fictional world of Runway Magazine, the film saw the trials and tribulations faced by Andy in her quest to establish her career as a writer, under the tyranny of her unreasonable boss. This year, Lauren Weisberger, author of the original novel, announced plans to release a sequel; ‘Revenge Wears Prada: The Devil Returns’, which will see our heroine eight years on, as editor of America’s leading Bridal Magazine.
With the employer/employee dynamic still as relevant today as it was in 2003, when Weisberger’s book became a bestseller, I asked myself; what makes a good boss?
DO Value the little things: In an attempt to be well-liked, many leaders will allow small details to go amiss. A good boss understands that profits are made and lost depending on attention to detail.
DON’T Be unreasonable: Everyone’s human and will have emergencies once in a while. Whether it’s a sick child or car troubles, be prepared to make exceptions for a happy work force.
DO Know your employees: For your business to function well, each staff member must play to their strengths. Spend time getting to know your team and delegation will become easier and more effective.
DON’T Try to be best friends with everyone: No matter how hard you try, it’s unlikely that you will be liked by every single member of your team. As long as you are polite, approachable and professional, the main focus is on ensuring that good work is being done.
DO Thank your staff for everything they do: Yes, they do the job you are paying them to do, but sometimes a little encouragement or compliment is worth its weight in gold. Oh, and DON’T criticise your employees in front of customers or other staff… ever. It’s not cool.
DON’T Assume that you have to do everything yourself: Okay, unless you have a PA, it’s not really excusable to have someone buying your family’s birthday gifts for you during their lunch hour. But, the phrase “if you want something done properly, do it yourself” doesn’t really wash in the workplace. You are paying your employees to do their job, so, if they are underperforming, reconsider your training techniques and help them to help you.
DO Realise that everyone makes mistakes: Irritating as their mistake may have been, it’s important not to berate or nag your staff. Deal with any problems quickly and efficiently, then move on. If the mistake becomes a regular occurrence, then it’s time to address the issue with a more serious attitude.
DON’T Go on a power trip: Particularly if you have been promoted within the same company, it’s important not to let your new position go to your head. Remember, with power comes responsibility (and sometimes, freebies, woo!)
DO Be a legal eagle: It’s a fact that employees have far more rights than employers these days. And they know it. Ensure you follow rules and procedures to-the-letter to prevent having a lawsuit on your hands. If in doubt, consult an employment law expert.
DON’T Gossip: As a member of a team, it’s often a habit to indulge in office gossip. As a boss, you can’t engage in this sort of thing. As well as being unprofessional, it’s likely that anything you say will be tomorrow’s water cooler topic, so keep your lips sealed! Confidentiality is also a part of your responsibility as an employer, so it’s not to be taken lightly (especially in front of an employment tribunal).
DO Be efficient: If you fail to perform straight forward tasks on time (such as producing a rota, responding to queries etc.), this will be reflected in your employee’s attitudes. Although it may be a menial task for you, your staff plan their lives around the work you give them, so it’s important to share this information as soon as possible. Plus, no-one wants an incompetent boss!
DON’T Forget why you do what you do: Many new bosses become disillusioned with their job because they feel they’ve hit a ceiling in their career. Unless you’re at the very top (and by that, I mean you’re not the Head of Global Operations, but the guy above him), then you’ve got plenty left to do with your career. And, if you don’t love what you do, at least love what you’re doing it for, be it a Mulberry handbag or a new pair of Kurt Geigers.
No-one is the perfect boss, but there are plenty of good ones out there! ‘Revenge Wears Prada: The Devil Returns’ is to be released in 2013.