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8 Habits of Great Bosses

Not every management professional is born with the skills to be a Great boss. Fortunately, with a bit of self-awareness and the desire to improve, almost anyone can become an effective people leader. If you want to get a quick and simple start on being a better boss, follow these eight habits:

1. Great Bosses Communicate Clearly

The best bosses are exceptional communicators. You need to make sure your employees know what to do and when to do it at all times. If they don't, frustration will build — for all parties involved.

Fortunately, you can learn how to communicate clearly if you don't already possess the skill. Keep these things in mind when practicing clear and open communication:

  • Know your employees: Different people process things in different ways. The way you talk and communicate with one employee might not go over well with another. That's why it's important to know the people you're communicating with and adjust your communication approach accordingly. Personality ”test” like Myers Briggs can help customize your communications depending on the traits of each individual. 
  • Meet regularly: Nobody enjoys attending an endless barrage of meetings. But occasional get togethers are necessary — especially when trying to boost your communication abilities. Host team-wide and one-on-one meetings at regular intervals to better connect with your employees and keep them in the loop.
  • Invest in communication tools: Modern technology makes it much easier to communicate with employees. Want to share a bit of news? You have options! You can, for example, call employees on the phone, send them MS Team or Slack messages, or emails, or post announcements in your company's intranet. You can also communicate through an employee experience platform like Kudos.

When you regularly communicate with your employees, they'll feel like valued members of your team. They'll then communicate better with their colleagues and your organization will naturally begin to benefit from greater productivity.

2. Great Bosses Listen to Their Employees

Great bosses don't just communicate clearly, they actively listen to their employees and seek their input. Then, they act on the input received as quickly as possible.

By listening to your workforce and implementing their suggestions, you'll show your team that you value them and their opinions. When employees feel valued, they generally work harder and more productively and are more engaged in their jobs.

It's important to remember that hearing and listening are two different things. Listening requires you to concentrate on what your employees say, rather than simply letting their voices wash over your eardrums without effect.

If, after listening to your team you decide to go in a different direction, make sure to explain to your team why you made that choice. That way they always feel respected.

3. Great Bosses Don't Micromanage

It's incredibly annoying to have someone constantly looking over your shoulder and criticizing your work. It also sends a subtle message that you can't be trusted to perform your job, which is insulting.

Micromanagement is also bad for bosses. If you have to spend all of your time worrying about your staff, how can you be expected to get your own work done?

The key is to hire the best possible employees you can — employees that demonstrate intelligence, integrity, and a strong work ethic rather than just an impressive resume. Then let them do what you hired them to do.

4. Great Bosses Develop Their Teams

If you're in a leadership position, you have an obligation to develop your team and help them reach their full potential. So take time to coach and mentor your staff. When you do, you'll find that your team is better prepared to tackle any and all challenges that arise.

Additionally, you'll see your employees gravitate towards you and become more loyal. This is especially true for those who manage millennials.

Sometimes the best way to develop your team is to help them identify their strengths and passions. Your team will function better when each member enjoys the work they do and can do it at the highest possible level.

5. Great Bosses Are Consistent

Your team members want to know what to expect from you. They definitely don’t want to ride an emotional rollercoaster every time they step into the office. 

In fact, The Academy of Management Journal published a study in 2016 that found that inconsistent treatment caused employees to experience more psychological stress than being treated consistently unfairly.

6. Great Bosses Stay Positive

Positivity is a key leadership trait. As we all know, things don't always go to plan in the business world. When challenges present themselves, your positive attitude will help keep your staff confident and focused on the tasks at hand.

Always look for the silver lining in each and every situation. Not only will this create a more enjoyable working environment for your team, but it will also teach them to think positively as well, which, in turn, will allow them to produce their best work on a consistent basis.

7. Great Bosses Are Trustworthy

Do your employees trust you? If they don’t, you won't be able to lead them effectively.

Your employees should feel that you, as their boss, have their backs, that they can speak openly and honestly with you, that you have their best interests at heart, and that you'll actually do what you say you will.

If you feel that trust in your organization is lacking, look for the reason(s) why. Then admit your mistakes and work to make yourself more approachable. But most importantly, become a person of your word.

8. Great Bosses Recognize Their Staff

Lastly, Great bosses understand that they're nothing without their employees and make a point to regularly recognize their staff for their contributions. 

Recognition can take many different forms. You could, for example, send a handwritten thank you note to a high achieving employee. Or publicly acknowledge their accomplishments at a team-wide meeting. Or give them a gift card to their favorite restaurant.

An employee recognition platform is a great way to make recognition a regular part of your interactions with your team, plus it will create a trackable record of all those “thank-yous” and “good jobs.” Get a guide to the benefits of a recognition program here.

While recognition can take many forms, the outcome of consistently recognizing employees is always the same. Studies show that recognition leads to higher employee engagement, better performance, and less turnover.

Wrapping Up

Make these habits a part of your management style and you'll create a positive working environment for your staff that's built on mutual respect and understanding. The result of this will be greater team productivity and happiness, and less turnover. Good luck!

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