Successful businessman looking at camera with arms crossed. Concept: how to be a good boss
Suzanne Llanera
By: suzanne_llanera
Read in 11 minutes

How to Be a Good Boss

The mere fact that you’re reading this and presumably wanting to learn how to be a good boss is a clear sign that you’ve got the inherent makings of a potentially top leader. Many of the head honchos of large, successful and profitable companies are, like you, humble enough to be frank and honest with themselves and their people. They don’t simply sit in their huge leather chairs in their ivory towers handing out orders left and right. They go out of their way to learn the many nuances and subtleties of how to be a good boss. Why? Because they know how the equation works.

The equation is simple. It works this way: Good bosses = happy, engaged employees = excellent performance = great profit numbers.

So, what does this tell you? It tells you that if you’re a small business owner with plans of growing it and making it a terrific moneymaker, it’ll be a smart move to start learning how to be a good boss.  It’s a remarkable springboard for realizing your dream.

10 Tips to Be a Good Boss

Here are 10 proven, can-start-today tips on how to be a good boss:

  1. Build a truly caring attitude – Many leading executive coaches, management gurus, and human behavior experts agree: being caring is one of the most powerful traits of a good leader. It’s a wonderful, satisfying feeling for employees to know that their bosses really care about them. While a high percentage of managers in the past simply exploited and wrung whatever work they could get from the labor force, today, organizations with the I-care-about-you kind of management or perhaps even a corporate culture predicated on caring, stand the best chance of succeeding in their business field.
  2. Create a bond of trust between you and your people – Achieving this bond of trust leads to effective communication, a higher level of employee engagement and top notch job performance. You can build trust by being honest and transparent. Even if it involves bad news, tell it like it is. Don’t sugarcoat it. Be truthful. Never indulge in gossip. Whatever personal things you may know about your people, keep it to yourself. Also, never bad-mouth your employees. It’s destructive. It erodes respect for you. Part of building a bond of trust is about having a keen sense of fairness. Don’t prejudge your guys based on their actions or what you may have heard about them. Most times it’s worth digging deeper into their motives and the why’s. Empathize with your employees. If your pregnant executive secretary appears to be having a tough time, don’t be shy. Ask if she’s okay or needs any sort of help. Give her some break time or the day off if she’s in bad shape.
  3. Recognize and praise your employees for jobs well done – We’ll let the recent survey numbers tell the story behind this: Because of not being recognized, 16% of employees in the U.S. left their jobs. Another 35% said the lack of recognition from their bosses was the biggest hindrance to their productivity. And here’s the kicker … a whopping 78% cited that being recognized for what they do at the workplace motivates them. So, how do you properly recognize your people? Thank the individual by name personally and post a memo on the bulletin board citing the specific work he/she had done remarkably well. Point out the true value this work has added to the organization. Or send out an email circular for everybody to know. It’s not going to hurt either to reward them with tickets to a popular concert or treat them to a grand steak dinner. Treating your team with a happy hour in a close by pub is a great way to create a bond with your employees and establish relationships beyond the office space. And while you are there, don’t talk about work!
  4. Create an atmosphere where employees can voice their concerns, issues, and frustrations – When you complement this kind of a working environment with open and honest communication, it generally leads to a high degree of collaborative and team performance. Get some feedback too. Ask for their opinions and what they think about certain company issues. To create an open-minded atmosphere, you have to show you are accessible and available to your employees anytime they need you. If you have your own office, leave the door open and let them feel they are welcome into your space.
  5. Help your employees succeed – Like you, your people also harbor certain dreams in their hearts. Talk to them every now and then. Ask how they feel about the tasks assigned to them, whether or not this runs parallel with their career paths. Should budgets and time allow it, you could probably enroll a few of them in a short management course or workshop.
  6. Regard your team as made up of people first, employees second – Learning how to be a good boss starts with showing some human kindness and understanding. Your employees, after all, are neither unfeeling robots nor cogs in a machine. They’re real people and they’ve got birthdays too. Remembering these and other important events goes a long, long way.
  7. Give your employees some space – Don’t be a control freak. Let your people be themselves and allow to do some things their own way. If some minor decisions need to be made on an issue that’s not going to shake the world, let your guys handle it. Then give them a pat on the back if it works out well. Delegate a part of what you do. It’ll help them learn new experiences and develop into better persons. Coach them if you need to, but otherwise, don’t stifle their growth by breathing down their necks. Letting your employees be themselves also means allowing them the space to show their personalities, likes and preferences. Allow them to decorate their desks ant way they want. Depending on the type of business you run, you can be more flexible with the dressing code. Ask them what type of music they prefer to listen as background music. Always promote diversity.
  8. Provide a crystal clear and specific map on where you want your business to go – Your people will go bananas, moving every which way trying to reach a goal they know nothing about. Providing and sharing an over-all vision with your workforce is one of the most important parts of learning how to be a good boss. Set this down and ideally own it jointly with your guys, setting measurable expectations for each one of them. This sharing of a vision tells them they’re valued.
  9. Use humor – Humor is a great way to release stress, connect with people and promote a positive attitude. Infuse your memos and messages with funny remarks. But never, ever be sarcastic!
  10. Promote a family oriented business – Most probably, your employees’ number one priority is their families. Invite them to bring their kids every now and then and give them a tour in the workplace. Organize a family picnic in a park once a year. Show you care about family issues and responsibilities: ask often about your team’s families without being nosey. And have in mind this: your employees’ family may include some furry members too. If your type of business allows for it, consider their option of letting your employees bring their dogs to the workplace. This is becoming increasingly popular in some young companies, and it could be even a decisive factor for some new hires when accepting a job offer.

Successful organizations understand one true fact – their most important asset is their people, not machines nor buildings. Happy, appreciated, valued and motivated employees are bound to be more productive and are more likely to achieve organizational goals and desired profits. They are also more likely to show care and concern for the organization they work for and for the people they work with.  In order to achieve all of these, you – the boss, should take the necessary steps such as those written above. Take note too, when you create a positive environment for your co-workers or colleagues, you will realize soon enough that you not only improved their lives but you have become a better person because of your actions.

There are several other tips and guides on how to be a good boss and retain your good employees, some of which you’re bound to discover in our newsletter. Why not subscribe to it today? You’re sure to also get some great insights about small business management and other useful information culled from many of today’s successful companies.

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