7 Traits of a Great Boss

July 20, 2016

Everyone wants to be a great boss, in theory at least. But in the real world of running a business, sometimes the hectic pace can get in the way of good intentions.

When you close up at the end of the day, are you satisfied that you’ve supported and connected with your people? Are they giving their best efforts in return?

If you’re unsure, consider cultivating some of the qualities that boost enthusiasm and commitment.

1. Great bosses show appreciation.

Paychecks aren’t everything. Study after study shows that people need to feel valued. They want their efforts to matter, and their contributions to be recognized.

Yet, less than 40% of workers feel their bosses are genuinely interested in them. One problem is that bosses get busy and old habits take over, such as criticizing or withholding compliments.

Praise is far more effective. Catch your people doing a good job—and let them know you appreciate it. Acknowledge their efforts to make your business strong, and they’ll make it even stronger.

2. Great bosses give employees control over their lives.

For many part-timers, the worst part of their job is the unpredictable work schedule. Anddisillusioned employees are going public about the practice.

As a boss, it can be tempting to plug names into time slots and call it a day. But for workers juggling school, family, or hopes for a social life, erratic schedules can be maddening.

Take scheduling seriously. Gather input about people’s availability, let them review their shifts, and establish fixed schedules when possible. Give employees the power to switch shifts with others when their plans change.

Small gestures such as these can pay out in less frustration and less turnover.

3. Great bosses train people to be successful.

Have you ever been tossed into a job without enough information? Not fun—and not a great way to get up to speed.

Time may be precious, but it’s important to train people properly. Help them understand the products, customers, and competition. Get them proficient with the cash register, inventory processes, or updating the website.

The quicker they’re working effectively, the sooner you can delegate. More time for you!

4. Great bosses listen to others’ ideas.

Sure, it’s your business and your baby. But good ideas can come from anywhere—especially your frontline staff.

Ask for their advice. Learn about problems they’re having with customers or merchandise. Solicit their ideas about possible solutions. Showing that you value another person’s input is a powerful motivator.

5. Great bosses build camaraderie.

You don’t have to hire a Chief Fun Officer to create joyful workplaces. Anyone can do it and reap the benefits, such as attracting great employees and keeping them engaged.

Eating lunch together, remembering birthdays, celebrating successes—simple gestures can boost a sense of teamwork and togetherness. Find out about more inexpensive ways to create an enviable company culture like Google’s.

6. Great bosses get out of the way.

Great bosses know when to swoop in and fix problems. But they also know when to hang back. They manage without micromanaging, which saps employees’ trust and autonomy.

And consider this: trying to control people is not only exhausting, it can also stunt their ability to do their jobs. “You create a vulnerability when your team isn’t used to functioning without your presence and heavy involvement,” writes leadership expert Muriel Maignan Wilkins in the Harvard Business Review.

No matter how detail oriented you may be about running your business, once employees have enough skills and knowledge, let them fly solo.

7. Great bosses mind their manners.

As people move into positions of authority, they sometimes neglect core behaviors that will help them succeed. They get impatient, snap out orders, or talk down to employees.

But workplace incivility has consequences. In one poll, 78 percent of those who had been treated rudely said their commitment to the company dropped, and almost half said they intentionally reduced their efforts.

Keep your people committed and engaged. Communicate with employees politely and treat them as important contributors who can help your business thrive.

[image: Teamwork and team spirit by 드림포유 on Flickr]


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