What Does it Take to Be a Great Boss?

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Before we can discuss what the traits of a great boss looks like, we should think about the purpose of a “boss”. Most of us have probably had our share of bad bosses and told ourselves if we are ever in that position we would be different.

If you had a bad boss, what about their behavior and actions made you feel that way? What would you do differently?

Sure your boss is the person you report to and who can hire or fire you, but is that it? A good boss serves more than just a position of authority.

A great boss is actually a leader; someone who does more than just tell you want to do or not to. A leader is someone who can cast vision and inspire their team to accomplish great things, not just perform a job.

If you have anyone who reports to you or you want to be a ‘great boss’, what might that look like?

For me, these are a few points I am trying to incorporate in my style and approach:

  • Be a Leader not a Doormat – Nobody is motivated by someone who doesn’t stand for something. Have conviction, have courage and cast a vision of where you want to take your team.
  • Inspire Growth – Help your team learn and grow. Set ambitious goals that require not just hard work but also new skills. Get to know your people, their interests, their passions, their strengths and give them opportunities to develop or improve. Doing something you have never done before and the fear of failure might be intimidating, the reward and satisfaction from achieving it can be euphoric and contagious.  This should start with yourself!
  • Cultivate Relationships – Encourage positive behavior with and among the team. Don’t accept drama or other destructive behaviors.  Everyone has different personalities, likes and dislikes, but we are all human and want to be known and valued for who we are. Teach and model respect for each other.  Everyone is more productive working in an environment they feel safe in.
  • Celebrate Excellence – Give high visibility to the success of your team. Help them to see the achievements that individuals and the team make.  Not just the big ones, but even the weekly or daily ones.  Create a culture that expects excellence in the work they do.  This starts with yourself!    When (not if) there is failure, don’t criticize.  Teach them to use it as a learning opportunity and help pick them back up and get them going again.
  • Demand Accountability – Both for the individual and for the team.  A great boss is still someone who expects his or her team to achieve. If your team senses that missed deadlines or poor quality is acceptable, it will kill motivation and spirit.
  • Promote Teamwork – Individual accomplishment is always needed, but much more will be accomplished as a team. This requires an atmosphere built on trust and respect more than competition and backstabbing.
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