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What Attributes Make a Great Boss

What Attributes Make a Great Boss

Bosses are often the primary reason for people either loving or leaving their jobs. A boss is the umbilical cord that connects employees to an organisation, and if that cord is damaged, the employees will eventually leave.

Setting expectations
A great boss sits down with a new employee right from the beginning and identifies priorities. They will discuss performance reviews and how excellent performance will be recognised.

You don't need to tell employees how to get the work done. Instead talk about outcomes and results and entrust them to execute the details and the process in the way they see fit. Expectations are set in different ways, sometimes in a formal planning session, other times in an informal conversation about a specific issue.

Being a coach
A great boss views their position as both a leader and a coach; someone who educates and encourages and who leads by example.

Don't assume your employees know exactly what to do. Like a good coach, call the shots from the sidelines. Often a boss might be tempted to run onto the pitch and play themselves, but this will mean you're doing all the work and your employees aren't learning a thing. Success in coaching is found in the balance of control - that fine line between being over-controlling and under-controlling - to be enough of a presence as a source of help, but not so much as to overshadow the players.

Encourages your employees not to be scared of making mistakes along the way. The mentality a great boss puts forward is one that encourages learning – not one that instills fear of making a mistake. It’s about opportunity, trying something new and different, and pushing personal limits. Fear only inhibits growth. Instead, a great boss uses mistakes as tools.

It’s essential for employees to feel like equals and equal contributing members to the team.

A great boss creates an environment based on integrity, trust, respect, and one that encourages feedback, innovation, and creativity. Employees in such an atmosphere flourish.

Giving feedback
Some bosses wait until the formal performance review to relay negative feedback to their employees. When this happens, employees are left thinking why they weren't informed sooner.

Give employees a chance to change or do things differently. Regular feedback along the way establishes a better relationship between employees and managers. There’s a sense of conversation, of leadership and of cooperation. Waiting until the performance review for feedback has more of a prosecutor-prosecute /trial verdict feel, and negative feedback rings like punishment.

Employees need to feel appreciated and human beings thrive on recognition. Nothing works quite like positive reinforcement, and a great boss is very aware of this. Mention what you like about they way your employees are working and you'll generally see them doing more things in that way, giving you the results you're looking for.

Common sense, really. If someone wears a new pair of blue pants one day, and gets a lot of compliments about them, that person will certainly wear the pants again. In this way, human behaviour is certainly not complicated.

Knowing your employees
A great boss stops by and says hello. They make themselves available to an employee in need, no matter what they're doing.

An effective boss takes a personal interest in their employees’ lives, without prying. they will know their favourite football team, how old their kids are and will try to get a better appreciation for the person inside the employee. An employer who understands their employees’ lives is more likely to be sympathetic and employees who feel that their boss is caring and interested in who they are will be more committed to their work.

A great boss observes their employees to find out what they do best, talking to them about what aspects of their job they enjoy the most. A great boss taps into and leverages the interests and skills employees have creating a win-win reaping the rewards of employee satisfaction whilst employees grow increasingly inspired and confident about their work, skills, and talents. They will feel appreciated, that someone has their best interests in mind.

It is true that some bosses have a natural flair for leadership, and motivating and inspiring others. That said, much of what it takes to be an effective leader is learned behaviour. A lot of people have innate traits that could make them great bosses; it’s a matter of developing those capabilities. A great boss rarely stays great without working at her craft. Greatness can be maintained by attending management classes and seminars, reading books, and doing a lot of self-assessment.


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