What does it mean to be a “good boss” in today’s ever-evolving workforce? There are many labels for the term boss, including manager, head honcho, and general person in charge. These experiences along my journey have helped me understand that a good boss extends far beyond the dictionary definition of “a person who is in charge of a worker, group, or organization” (Oxford Dictionary). Anyone can be a boss as there are not many requirements. What separates an “okay” boss from a “good” boss, however, is a much larger discussion. Here are a few things that you can do to elevate your leadership.
Supportive Leaders are Good Leaders
According to the Centers for Disease Control, “one-fourth of employees view their jobs as the number one stressor in their lives”. Being aware of these stressors and doing whatever it takes as a leader to help alleviate them for your staff will take you from being just the jerk in charge to being a good boss.
One of the most important things a leader can do is ensure that staff is provided with all the resources and support needed to succeed in their position. Instill empathy into your management team; according to the Center for Creative Leadership: “Managers who practice empathetic leadership toward direct reports are viewed as better performers in their jobs by their bosses.” It is no secret that when your staff succeeds in their individual roles, the business celebrates that success.
There’s no “I” in Team
The shifts we’ve seen in the workforce have forced me to look at leadership differently, as I’m sure it has for many others. Within these past few years, I have pushed myself to explore becoming less of a boss and more of a team builder, making me a better leader. I have learned that it is not always about getting things done, especially if getting it done is going to damage the team or our synergy.
Team building is an essential part of being an effective leader. You must then trust your team to make good decisions and praise them when they do. You will have to be firm with them when they don’t, but you do it in a way that strengthens and teaches them. These tactics will build a strong team, allowing you to be less of a boss and more of a leader.
These past few years have also reminded me that, as a leader striving to impact my staff positively, I am responsible for creating space to listen to others and try to understand perspectives that differ from mine. Listening to your staff makes them feel understood and valued. These feelings within the staff can lead to more motivation and productivity.
Talk to people you want to learn more about and ask how their day is going. Make it a point to actively listen to what the other person has to say – put down your phone, put away all other distractions, and be present. I believe this simple advice will inspire you to help others and create a more kind, tolerant, and understanding workplace on your journey to becoming a better leader.
Being a “good boss” takes a lot of work and care than simply being a boss, but you increase the chance of your staff and business success. You will ensure that a strong team is built on a solid foundation of trust, knowing they will be provided with all the resources and support they need to create a better work environment for everyone.
Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary. (n.d.). https://www.oxfordlearnersdictionaries.com/us/definition/english/boss_1
Centers for Disease Control. (n.d.). STRESS…At Work. https://www.cdc.gov/niosh/docs/99-101/default.html
Leading Effectively Staff. (2020, November 28). The Importance of Empathy in the Workplace. Center for Creative Leadership. Retrieved July 25, 2022, from https://www.ccl.org/articles/leading-effectively-articles/empathy-in-the-workplace-a-tool-for-effective-leadership/