Being a great boss obviously has a tangible value other than just being liked, but how do you know if you are one? And, if you’re not, how do you get better?
Dr. Travis Bradberry, award-winning co-author of Emotional Intelligence 2.0, says when he asks audiences to describe the best and worst bosses they have ever worked for, they ignore characteristics such as intelligence, extraversion, attractiveness, and so on and instead focus on qualities that are completely under the boss’s control, such as passion, insight, and honesty.
So what does this mean for you? It means all of us can learn how to be a better boss. Here are the second five ways to achieving the status of being a great boss.
6. A great boss is accountable. Bad bosses are quick to point the finger when something goes wrong. They’ll throw their employees under the proverbial bus without a second thought. Great bosses understand that a large part of their job is being accountable for the team’s performance. They know that this just goes along with accepting a managerial role. That doesn’t mean that they don’t offer the team feedback on what is going wrong, but it does mean that they take the blame publicly. Even privately, they see the team’s failure as a failure of leadership on their part, and they act quickly to correct it.
7. A great boss says thank you. Bad bosses think the work their employees do is something the employees owe them. After all, they’re getting paid, right? That’s true—but great bosses look past work as a transactional relationship and realize that people are putting a huge part of themselves into the work they do. They say thank you, even if it is “just part of the job.”
8. A great boss doesn’t forget that people have lives outside of work. Bad bosses tend to see people as one-dimensional: they show up and get the work done, and the boss doesn’t have to worry about them again until the next day. Great bosses, on the other hand, never forget that work is just one facet of their employees’ lives. They never forget that they have families, friends, hobbies, and other interests and obligations outside of work, and they don’t infringe on their “real” lives—by asking someone to work late, for example —without a very good reason. And when they do have a good reason, they acknowledge that they’re asking for a sacrifice and express their gratitude accordingly.
9. A great boss is a great communicator. It seems like some bosses will do anything to avoid giving a straight answer. They don’t want to say something they can be held accountable for later. Other bosses just don’t want to be bothered with clear explanations and solid answers. Great bosses say what they mean and mean what they say—and they say it clearly, so that people don’t have to read between the lines or try to guess their real meaning.
10. A great boss creates leaders. Have you ever noticed how sometimes all the promotions come from within one manager’s team? That’s no accident. Great bosses pull the very best out of their people. They inspire, coach, and lean into people’s strengths, and when their employees are ready for new challenges, they gladly send them on their way.
Is this how your employees would describe you? If not, you’re leaving money, effort, and productivity lying on the table. You’re also probably losing some good employees, if not to other jobs, then at least to disengagement and lack of interest.
Keep these 10 points on your noticeboard or set yourself a reminder to check how you are performing each month. Better still ask your employees to rate you as a great boss!
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