Striving to be a good boss is a noble goal, but from time to time, it’s helpful to consider what goes into becoming not just a good boss, but a great one. Here are ways in which you can achieve greatness in leading people and bringing out the very best in them (and yourself):
Build a culture where people can grow
Business owners and CEOs sometimes forget just how much the company culture revolves around their particular words and actions. They just go about their daily routines and let the culture evolve (or not) on its own. A great boss consciously builds a culture of empowerment, creativity and highly motivated people. They know such a culture doesn’t happen by accident.
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Great bosses focus on getting the right people on the bus and, on those rare occasions when things don’t work out, removing the wrong people as soon as possible.
With talented people on board, they feel confident enough to avoid micromanagement, focusing instead on creating opportunities for employees to take on additional responsibilities and come up with new ideas themselves. They promote achievement through teamwork, enabling people to form strong personal and professional bonds (and, consequently, greater loyalty to the organization). And they make growth possible by allocating the time and resources needed for employees to become better at what they do.
Communicate a vision of the future
Sometimes business leaders assume that employees understand the organization’s goals and objectives, and everyone shares the same idea of where it’s headed in the future. In fact, people often don’t grasp the leader’s vision – because he or she has failed to take the time and effort to communicate it to them.
A great boss walks and breathes that vision, communicating it at every possible occasion and doing whatever’s necessary to infuse employees with a clear understanding of the bigger picture.
A great boss also knows how to articulate the vision in language everyone can grasp, avoiding platitudes and abstract wording, focusing instead on how that vision relates to each employee’s everyday roles and responsibilities.
Connect with employees
It’s easy to get swept up in the helter-skelter pace of business operations and forget that the people who work for you actually have lives outside of the office – and that they want to grow in their jobs and make a significant contribution to the growth of the company. A great boss bridges that intangible gap between leadership and friendship, not in terms of “hanging out” after work, but by demonstrating respect for each individual and getting to know them on some personal level.
In this way, employees don’t feel like disposable cogs in a wheel; rather, they see that no matter how busy you are, you still find time to get a sense of who they are (their goals on the job and in life in general) and about why they work for you (to care for their families, have meaning in their lives, etc.). A great boss sees people as people, not as units of business.
There are plenty of good bosses out there. The ones who aspire to greatness benefit from exceptionally high-performing employees and a company culture based on openness, recognition for work well done and a sense that everyone’s working together to achieve a common goal.
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