Do you think of yourself as a good boss? Do your staff agree? What makes a good boss? Is it leadership style, personality, an ability to delegate and empower people? Can you remember good bosses and bad bosses from your past? In many ways the answers to all these questions is subjective. Someone who is perceived as a good boss by one person might be viewed very differently by someone else.
So, is it possible to nail down a set of standards, skills, strategies that will give you an edge when it comes to your ability to lead and at the same time be respected and liked? That's a tall order but the following six steps will certainly bring you closer to the status of great leader and great boss.
1. Have a Clear Vision
Having and sharing a vision creates buy-in. Understand that people are not only motivated by money they are also inspired by clear goals and the pride that comes with accomplishing them together as a team. Clearly show each member of your team how they are contributing to the future success of your company. Integral to your vision should be an understanding as to what your employees value and need. Delivering on this will impact positively on their performance, create loyalty and increase productivity.
2. Make Yourself Approachable and Inclusive
First, tell your employees about your vision and your strategic plan for the business. Involve them. Listen to their feedback. Make them feel comfortable enough to share their ideas with you. Use their ideas whenever you can and thank them for their contribution. Trust the judgement of your team, you don't always need to be right. Give people room to grow.
3. Be growth-oriented.
Good bosses are always learning new stuff - they are constantly taking courses and improving their skills both technical and management. They also encourage and support their employees in both personal and professional development. Great bosses help financially and offer days off for employees to take relevant courses and programs.
4. Adopt the Role of Coach
Times have changed and today good leaders, good bosses lead more than they manage. Coaching your employees means trying to get the best performance out of them just as you would if you were a hockey, or soccer team coach. A terrific boss knows his or her employee's strengths and weaknesses and how to maximize the former and minimize the latter. He or she knows what inspires them to give their all and play a unique part in the team. Sure, you still have to manage your business, just do it with the mentality of a coach.
5. Be Aware of your Employees Life Beyond Work
This works especially well with smaller businesses where you know all your employees by name and know them, at least a little, beyond the parameters of work. Notice their personal achievements such as getting a diploma or running a marathon, personal issues such as family health problems. Ask about their children, or elderly parents perhaps - these small things show them you see them as people not just productivity units. This is one of the biggest motivators of all.
6. Recognize that Becoming a Great Boss is a Process
Sure, some people are born leaders; it comes naturally. For most people however it is something to be learned over a period of time on the front line. There are hundreds of books, blogs, YouTube videos and courses on leadership - check a few out and become familiar with what great bosses and great leaders have in common, what traits they exhibit. Observe leaders you admire and see how they manage to motivate people to follow them.
Once the people who work for you start to admire and respect you, to be motivated by you, magic can happen. There is a cohesiveness that occurs when a company is led by a great boss; it's when a single entity becomes greater than the sum of its parts. That's powerful.