Jonathan Vowles: Being A Good Boss
My inspiring dad ...
It's one thing to manage to get your company up and running, but a business is only ever as good as the staff in its employ. So, how do you get the best work out of your team?
My inspiring dad, Jonathan Vowles.
Well, it helps if they like you! I've had the pleasure of watching my father's company develop from a small box room in our house to an ever-growing, highly respected and reliable business.
In my opinion, this success is due to the relationships Jonathan cultivates with both his staff and clients. Need proof? JVCA made it to the top ten in the Accountancy Age Best Employer Survey of 2014.
"The thing about my Dad is this: he has a genuine passion for everything that he does and a real interest in everyone he meets!"
The downside, as his daughter, is waiting for him to finish chatting with the whole world and their mothers! But I've never minded that, as my father always spent more time at work than my friends' parents.
I realised from a young child that someone so great, energetic, interesting and fun shouldn't be kept to myself; I couldn't begrudge letting others spend time with him too.
During my childhood, I spent lots of time visiting my father's office, and a big part of my being happy to do so was down to it always being fun. Don't get me wrong, his employees work really hard, but when you're doing that much work, especially in an office setting, you need to be able to let off some steam.
"Watch out for flying fish!"
Amongst the shelves of filing, on and around computers, the office has more stuffed toys in it than any child could hope for, and every one of them is a fish. They are there to chuck at one another, playfully of course. The idea came from a book Jonathan once read which you can find more about on the JVCA about page.
Playing with a mini office golf set, regularly hiring a masseuse for the day at the office and finding opportunities for company meals; these are some of the ideas Jonathan uses to help sustain a relaxed, happy, and hard-working team of staff.
But being a good boss isn't just about buying things to keep your staff sweet. You won't be an effective manager if they don't respect and listen to you. Having confidence in yourself as their leader is a hugely important, as is making sure you're clear about your expectations of them and the rules you need them to follow.
As a leader, think about your employees' welfare and treat them as you would want to be treated yourself. Be empathetic. Offer help and support where necessary. It might be costly in the short term, but it's vital that your team of people gets what they need to be able to do their best work for you.
The costs spent on them now will pay dividends in the difference you'll see in their attitude to work and the overall atmosphere of the office.
"Don't be afraid to muck in!"
You're part of the team too, so prove it. Get involved, and try to take on any feedback your staff have. They can see the business from a different perspective to yours, which is always useful.
And my last piece of advice, garnered from years of observing my father, is to be inspiring! The word 'inspire' means "to fill (someone) with the urge or ability to do or feel something." and my father certainly inspires everyone around him!
That really is the key to being a good boss.
Until next time ...
Mirrim is a part-time part of the admin support team at JVCA…and has been for some time having started off with the firm as a part-time receptionist!.
She is also one of our two British Sign Language interpreters, ready for when deaf clients want a meeting. The rest of her time is currently spent studying Drama at University.