Skip to content

Lead On — What to Do to Be a Great Boss

be a great boss

Lead On — What to Do to Be a Great Boss

Whether you run a small department or the whole company, how to be a great boss means a lot of different things. Making sales targets, managing budgets and supervising team members, are just a handful of everyday obligations. But being a good leader is often associated with being an effective manager of people. As cliché as it might sound, a company’s most valuable resource is often its people, so taking care of the most important asset should be the chief concern of every boss.

be a great boss

Here are some ways to be a great boss:

Listen. No, really listen. It’s all too easy to say that you have an open-door policy or that there are no dumb questions. But do people truly feel that they can come to you for advice without fear of judgment? Do you encourage feedback on how you are doing?

You can fix a lot of problems before they even start by simply being an active listener. What does that mean?

Ask questions if you don’t understand what someone is trying to say. Take notes during a check-in with an employee, and then send a summary to them after the meeting, and ask if you missed anything. In other words, don’t just listen, participate and get clarity if you do not feel that you understand everything.

Be an open book. Obviously you will have times when you are privy to information that is not appropriate to share with your team – strategic partnerships, new products or reductions in force may not be the types of things that you can share widely.

[bctt tweet=”But don’t fall into the trap of the idea of knowledge is power and keep information from your team just for the sake of being in control.”]

One study said 91% of people believe their issues with management come down to poor communication. People worry and stress at work, and the less they know, the more they are likely to fill in the gaps with an overactive imagination about bad things happening.

Your team will be more productive if they are not distracted by their own concerns on what the future of the company is. People also feel valuable when they are told information – it says they are going to be around to use the information, and they are considered trustworthy. So volunteer information when you can, and if you are directly asked about something, offer as much detail as possible.

Be professional. Ok, that’s not really fair. Just saying “be a professional” seems at the same time both obvious and not clear enough. So what does that mean if you want to be a great boss? It means a lot of things.

Don’t gossip (Ever.). Do show up on time (each morning, and for every meeting). Be social, but not sloppy, at after work events. Have a strong relationship with your own boss and other decision makers. In other words, be a role model.

When you think about it in simplest terms, people like to work for people who they admire and respect, and feel they can learn from, not a boss they secretly hate. If you keep as a baseline a goal to be a professional, you are essentially putting pressure on yourself to be on your best behavior, and encourage the same from your team.

People are watching and listening how you conduct yourself all day long, and they want to be proud to be on your team. Don’t disappoint.

It is not easy to be a great boss.

For one thing, every day you have to battle to make sure that the urgent doesn’t crowd out the important. It’s easy for each meeting and every day to be about an individual client or a specific crisis, and losing the big picture of the growth and development of your team. But if you can make sure that you make time to hear your team, to communicate often and thoroughly, and remain their work time hero (ok — at least be someone they really want to be around), you have an excellent chance to become a great boss.