How to Be a Good Boss with Immediate Actionable Steps
With over 65% of workers saying they’d take a new boss over a pay raise, it’s clear being a good boss is one of the most important aspects of a healthy workplace.
What Is a Good Boss?
Great news for introvert leaders: being a good boss is less about being the coolest, most outgoing person in the room and more about being a good person. A good boss isn’t just a manager, but more importantly, a leader who cares and communicates well.
Good bosses understand they are only as good as their team. They value what each employee brings to the table and are open to innovation and change.
If you’re asking how to be a good boss, you’re on the right path! As a boss, you’re under a lot of pressure, and we know your job isn’t easy.
4 Reasons Why You Should Be a Great Boss
You want to be a better, more supportive boss, but why does it matter in the first place?
Reduce turnover and improve employee loyalty
According to the data, 82% of employees “would consider quitting because of a bad manager .”Amazingly, the job study we referenced in the introduction showed 65% of employees would take a new boss over a pay raise.
Voluntary turnover costs businesses thousands of dollars each year, but it’s not just about financial loss. High turnover leads to low morale. This, in turn, sets up a chain reaction that sabotages productivity and loyalty.
Much of this is preventable. YOU have the power to reduce turnover and improve employee loyalty.
Pro Tip: Be decisive and stand up for your team. When managers lead with confidence, it builds morale. Also, when an employee knows you have their back, it encourages positive risk-taking for innovation.
Great bosses directly impact productivity. If you’re leading by intimidation or your leadership style feels more like a revolving door (you’re inconsistent and unavailable), don’t expect employees to have high productivity.
In a society already filled with far too many stressors, people need a leader that will walk beside them.
Employees who feel their boss doesn’t value them or their work often find it challenging to meet their workload. Suppose you notice workers getting sloppy, not finishing on time, or skipping tasks. In that case, you may want to explore what actions you can change on your end to help improve your employee’s productivity. Try asking, “what would help you reach your deadline?”
Pro Tip: Communicate the purpose and meaning of the work you are asking your team to do. Projects with no apparent meaning or connection to a clear vision can feel meaningless.
Build a Healthy Company Culture
It’s ironic, but employees with bad managers begin to replicate the same behavior as their managers. Toxic managers lead to a toxic work environment that fosters a cycle of toxic behavior.
Instead, as a great manager, you can guide and build a healthy company culture because toxic work culture isn’t just bad for your workers. It’s hard on you too!
Action Steps to Become a Better Boss
Becoming a better boss means caring about your workers as individuals. Discover their dreams, what encourages them, and always be on the lookout for something unique or beautiful inside of them.
True, Robin Williams plays a teacher in this scene, but he admirably demonstrates good leadership. He doesn’t take it personally when the boy hasn’t completed his assignment. Instead, he gets to the heart of what is going on and sees what the boy can do. Here’s how you can do the same with your employees.
Invest in career growth and advancement
One of the most exciting parts of being a boss is training employees to strengthen their skills and ultimately accomplish even bigger things. Investing in workers not only builds loyalty but providing that kind of input and mentoring feels pretty good, too. Even if they move to another company, what you’ve invested in them will build work connections across your industry.
Action Step 1: Know your team’s career goals. Think about who you work with every day. Do you know their 1- year goals? 5- year goals? 10- year goals? Learn them and share yours.
Action Step 2: According to data on soft skills, almost 100% of respondents agree soft skills impact job performance. Often employees don’t have the necessary skills, so this is an excellent opportunity to equip your team. We recommend People School. The more you can help your team grow and learn, the more they will feel empowered at work.
Give constructive feedback
Take time to share and give credit as well as celebrate the wins. Recognizing completed work or a specific project helps bring a sense of resolution and satisfaction. Giving honest feedback in a kind and respectful way shows your employee you see what they are accomplishing. Honoring individual contributions helps workers feel appreciated and believe they can achieve even more. When you acknowledge the work of others with employee recognition, it also signals to your team that you truly value what they are doing.
Action Step 1: Begin feedback with two genuine positive comments before moving on to the negative. If possible, conclude with another positive or recommendations to improve the negative.
Action Step 2: When celebrating the completion of a project, hold negative feedback for a later meeting. Instead, give specific feedback instead of vague praise.
You did an excellent job handling all the moving pieces in this project.
I’m impressed that you came up with a creative solution to that problem.
Thank you for handling such a difficult client with professionalism and kindness.
You usually don’t handle this part of a project, but I appreciate taking on new responsibilities.
Actively learn what your employees value
What your employees value will be what motivates and demotivates them. You may value speed and efficiency, while another person values perfection and excellence. Be accepting of different values and be a supportive boss willing to meet your workers where they are. Help your worker align their values with your strategic goals for the team.
Plan an ice breaker for sharing values.
Prepare a list of values to make it easier.
If someone identifies with a value, ask them to share one sentence about what that value means to them.
Don’t take things personally
You don’t want your employees to be overly sensitive or take feedback personally. The same goes for you! If you can keep your emotions under control, you’ll be a much more approachable boss.
Action Step: When you feel yourself taking something personally, take a moment to pause and breathe. Set those emotions to the side until a more appropriate time to explore why you responded in that way. If you record your reactions, you may discover a pattern emerging.
Make sure your words and actions align
Saying something does not make it so! Periodically check yourself and ask if your words align with your actions. For example, if you appreciate your team but flake on meetings, what does that communicate? This goes for communicating expected tasks as well. When you ask a worker to do something, don’t come behind them and undo the work because you feel you could do it better. This creates a massive disconnect between what you say and do, plus it’s a trait of a poor boss.
Action Step: Start taking note of what you say and whether you communicate something different by your actions.
Set high standards
When you set high standards and reward good work, you lay the groundwork for success in your team. Make sure they have a good understanding of what those standards are. When a task is completed, don’t focus on shortcomings but look at what has been accomplished. The worst thing you can do is have low expectations for your team. When you let your team know you believe they can achieve great things, you will receive higher work output regularly.
Communicate openly what you expect from your team and communicate clearly that your high standards are because you believe they can attain great things. A lot of this will be demonstrated by your actions and involvement.
Action Step 1: Determine what values are most important to your team and use that as a guide for setting standards.
Action Step 2: If you expect your team to complete tasks on time, demonstrate the importance of promptly completing tasks. On the other hand, there may be situations when a deadline needs to be pushed. You can communicate flexibility by being willing to push deadlines on occasion. Set a high standard where this is the exception rather than the rule. If deadlines are constantly pushed out, you’re setting a lower standard.
Action Step 3: For remote teams, develop a relationship of trust that workers will show up when they are supposed to. At the same time, be aware of what your team is working on (without micromanaging!) so there is a balance of trust and accountability. Use a content management system to track tasks and check up on weekly meetings.
Communicate based on personality
Learning how to be a great boss starts with you. As you begin to use the action steps, take time to strengthen your emotional intelligence and confidence.
Many bosses do all the talking, but they only communicate their wants, beliefs, and desires. Instead, learn how to share with workers based on their personality type. Check out this video on how to manage based on personality type:
There are some quick and easy tips you can also start with to warm yourself up. Try these:
Have regular check-ins, but don’t overdo it at meetings.
Respond to questions and projects promptly.
Provide clear performance expectations.
Be open about salary and compensation.
Embrace collaboration and work together.
Be willing to have difficult conversations.
Balance negative feedback with a positive affirmation.
Build your soft skills and hard skills to increase credibility.
Offset stress levels with work fun.
Provide employee goals to keep workers on track.
Don’t skip performance assessments.
Be accountable and have integrity.
Connect with leaders you admire as a resource for personal growth.
Take responsibility for your own mistakes.
Being a Boss Isn’t Easy
This may feel like a lot of negative information! There is much more data on bad bosses because good bosses might seem rare. Great leaders don’t have to be unicorns, and just because there is limited data on the good doesn’t mean you aren’t already doing a good job.
We know being a boss isn’t easy. Some things may be out of your hands, such as complex workers, limited budgets, and in some cases, YOUR boss! As you work towards being a better boss and building a company’s vision, we hope you’ll begin to see just how vital your role is to the people around you. Bosses get discouraged and tired, too. When that happens, hold on to the vision that led you to this position in the first place.
Each of these steps and tips can help you become an even better boss and build the team you have always dreamed of leading.