How to Be the Best Boss You Can Be

July 4, 2017

What makes your job unbearable? The hours? The pay? Maybe it’s your boss?

Sadly, for a lot of people, their boss is the worst part of their job. In fact, according to a study by Gallup, 50% of employees leave their jobs just to escape from their bosses.

Was this you at some point? Or even worse—have you become the boss your employees want to run away from?

The biggest misconception about being a boss or managing employees is that you must be strict and harsh in order to strike fear and discipline into the hearts of your employees. This couldn’t be further from the truth. You don’t have to be a dictator in the workplace to get things done.

Which begs the question: How should you behave in order to be a great boss? What traits do employees appreciate in their bosses and how can you adjust your behavior to improve relationships with your employees?

Use these tips to move towards becoming the kind of boss you’d like to work for—the best boss you can be.

1. Be Friendly

No one likes a grump. Some bosses think that if they’re friendly with their employees, they won’t be taken seriously. But, that’s just not true.

Take the time to greet your employees by name, find out how their day is going, and engage in small talk from time to time. The aim here is to be as approachable as possible. Employees will feel acknowledged and respected if you take the time to recognize them as individuals, instead of cogs in the office machinery.

2. Be Available

Go a step further from approachable to available.

Often, employees have great ideas, but if their boss’s door is always closed, those ideas never make it up the ladder. Make it clear to your employees that your door is always open and that you value their ideas and opinions.

When they do come to you with ideas, be encouraging and offer constructive criticism—not just negativity. Employees who feel appreciated and valued in the company will go the extra mile in their work, driving themselves and the company forward.

3. Be a Leader

Have you ever been in a situation where you, as an employee, had to take action when the team leader or boss failed to follow through? That’s because being in charge doesn’t automatically make you a good leader.

What’s the difference between being the boss and being a leader? Leaders inspire their followers. Leaders are often chosen and, as such, their authority is respected.

To get your employees to respect your authority as the boss, inspire them. Don’t just delegate tasks and then disappear. Check in with your employees regularly to address their concerns and keep projects moving forward. Empower your employees by example and watch how their attitude towards you—and their work—changes for the better.

4. Be Positive

When the boss is in a bad mood, that mood can negatively affect the entire workplace. On the other hand, a positive and encouraging boss can uplift and motivate everyone.

We know that no one can make the workplace sunshine and daisies all the time—bad days do happen despite our best efforts. But how you, as the boss, handle those bad days can make all the difference in employee morale.

Criticism for the sake of it only discourages employees. However, constructive criticism can be helpful and positive. And when someone does a good job, tell them! So often, we only hear from our bosses when we’ve done something wrong—which can make even the most motivated of us stop trying altogether.

5. Be 100% Reliable

Most bosses expect their employees to be reliable—to get to work on time and get their job done. What many bosses don’t realize is that employees expect the same of them, too. Their livelihoods are in your hands, after all!

If you don’t stick to your word and have your employees’ backs, they’ll only give you the bare minimum and probably use some of their time and effort looking for jobs elsewhere. If you expect your employees to be on time, then you should be on time. If you expect them to work late to meet a deadline, you should be willing to stay late too. Be consistent and confident in your decision-making abilities.

Being a good boss often means putting in even more effort than your employees—they will notice if you do or not.

Boss-Employee Relationships: It’s a Two-way Street

If you really want to be a better boss, remember that expectations are a two-way street in the workplace.

Too many bosses let their egos get in the way and think that their employees owe them everything, while they give little to nothing back. Being a better boss means taking the time every day to improve your relationship with your employees and realize that you are as responsible to them as they are to you.

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