“I want to be a great boss,” is something I hear frequently. Surprisingly to some, being a great boss is a choice, not a trait. If you’re ready to embody all that encompasses a “great boss,” you must first understand these 4 truths.
The 4 Truths To Being a Great Boss¹
- Being a great boss can be simple
- Your style doesn’t have to change
- You must genuinely care about your people
- You must want to be great
When you make the conscious decision to be a great boss, you must be both a leader and a manager. These are clearly two distinct roles and both are necessary.
Leadership is about
- Working “on” the business
- Giving clear direction
- Creating openings
Management is about
- Working “in” the business
- Setting clear expectations
- Effective communication
- Doing (Executing)
Five Practices of Great Leaders
As a boss, you must provide your direct reports with effective leadership. Great leaders focus on doing five things really well.
- They give clear direction
They provide clear direction for where the business and their team are going and how they are going to get there. They create openings for their team members to grab opportunities and run with them.
- They provide the necessary tools
They have their team’s back. They provide them with the resources, training, technology, and people that are required to do their jobs… and also their time and attention.
- They “let go of the vine”
They build great teams and delegate effectively, freeing them up to contribute using their Unique Abilities².
- They act with the greater good in mind
All of their decisions and actions support the greater good of the company. They walk the walk and lead by example.
- They take clarity breaks
They schedule time, often outside the day-to-day frenzy of the office, to step back and think about the business (working “on” the business).
Five Practices of Great Managers
“The moment you feel like you have to manage someone, you’ve made a hiring mistake.” – Jim Collins
As a boss, you must provide your direct reports with effective management. Great managers
focus on doing five things really well.
- They keep expectations clear
Their expectations of their direct reports and the expectations of their direct reports of them. It is a two-way street.
- They communicate well
They don’t give room for interpretation. They ask questions rather than delivering orders. They are clear and easy to follow. They constantly engage in two-way conversations.
- They have the right meeting pulse
Great managers have an even exchange of dialogue in their meetings and measurables are reported and addressed if off track. They meet frequently enough to make sure the “circles are connected” but not so much that their direct reports are smothered.
- They have quarterly one-on-one conversations with each of their direct reports
These are conversations out of the office (ie: over coffee, lunch, or breakfast), complimenting employees on things they do well, asking what’s working and what isn’t, and other conversations that aren’t part of a formal review.
- They reward and recognize their direct reports
Think of these as a pat on the back or a kick in the behind. They praise in public
and provide constructive feedback in private, within 24 hours of an instance. They remember their role is a boss, not a buddy.
“No amount of money will induce someone to lay down their life, but they will gladly do so for a bit of yellow ribbon.” – Napoleon
To be a great boss, you need to first make the choice to commit. For those who need some support in this journey, I am always here to help.
¹How To Be a Great Boss, by Gino Wickman and René Boer
²Dan Sullivan, Strategic Coach