How to be a good boss

Aug 29 2007 by Print This Article

If what the web tells us is anything to go by, it seems almost universally accepted that bosses suck. So, as a manager, what are you to do? Doesn't anyone have any advice about how to be a good boss? Is being one even possible? Well, yes - and this article has some tips that might be useful.

The article starts by stating three of the biggest missteps a manager makes. "I'm right, you're wrong. Obey me" is the first example of the wrong attitude.

"I'm higher on the organizational chart. That means I'm better than you" is another common mistake. Thinking that everything an employee lower on the pay scale suggests or produces is wrong is another bad move.

Instead, the author suggests ways in which a manager might have the opposite effect on their employees. "When something fails, take responsibility." So if an employee fails to meet a deadline, look at what you as their supervisor did wrong to make that happen. And if the employee is that bad, maybe you need to look at your hiring methods.

"Understand employee motivations" is another tip. When you have an eager employee, take the time to listen to them. More importantly, try to understand them. Instead of shrugging and then giving that person menial tasks, listen and use their energy to benefit you.

"Reverse the organizational chart" is a crucial idea. Get into the mindset that you work for your employees rather than the other way around. Also realize that employees can, in a sense, fire their bosses.

It may take radically altering your way of thinking to get to the point where you are a "good" boss. However, taking the time to understand the ways in which you can change could lead to a working environment that is productive rather than antagonistic.


Older Comments

You are an outstanding boss if can get a 90 on this test.

This is a simple test of 10 questions. Rank yourself (or a manager) on a scale of 1 to 10, 10 being the best or almost always, 1 being the worst or almost never. Add up the points for each question.

If you score close to 100, I would expect that your employees will be over 3 times more productive than if your score was 30 or less. In addition, employees will unleash their full potential creativity and innovation, love to come to work and have very high morale. :)


-provide regular and frequent opportunities for employees to voice complaints, suggestions and questions, provide reasonable and timely responses, and give employees what they say they need to do a better job? (At least weekly?)

-elicit answers/responses from the team and get them to use their brainpower to solve problems?

-listen to employees with 100% attention without distraction, without trying to figure out a response and with the use of follow-up questions to obtain missing details and suggested fixes?

-refrain from giving orders since by their nature they demeaning and disrespectful and destroy innovation and commitment?

-treat members better in terms of humility, respect, timely and high quality responses, forthrightness, trust, admission of error, etc than they are expected to treat customers and each other?

-publicly recognize employees for their contributions and high performance and never take credit him/herself?

-openly provide all company info to employees to the extent they need/desire?

-use values and high standards of them in order to explain why certain actions are better than others?

-use smiles and good humor with subordinates, not frowns or a blank face?

-generate in employees a sense of ownership?

Best regards, Ben Author 'Leading People to be Highly Motivated and Committed'

Ben Simonton