How to Be a Good Boss

Whether it’s a CEO overseeing a group of managers or a mid-level supervisor analyzing the performance of staff, effective bosses balance being liked with being respected. Talented managers know how to develop and engage their employees. Gallup research found that these bosses “create enthusiastic, energized teams that build highly successful organizations and engage customers.”

Engagement is a heavily used word in business circles and for good reason. Good businesses engage their customers. Likewise, good managers engage their employees. Gallup’s research found the best managers establish a workplace culture that prioritizes productivity and profitability from the top of the organization to the bottom, resulting in significant boosts in profits (48% increase) and productivity (22% increase) for a company.

But Gallup’s research, titled “State of the American Manager: Analytics and Advice for Leaders,” notes that just 30% of U.S. workers are engaged, showcasing what it calls a nation of “poor managing and checked out employees.”

What Makes a Great Boss?

Gallup surveyed more than 7,700 U.S.-based employees for its employee engagement study. More than half who were engaged at work reported having a manager they found to be approachable. Bosses that helped establish priorities and goals, and focused on the strengths or positive characteristics of their people scored high marks.

Many great bosses possess qualities that have stood the test of time across organizations:

  • Integrity – As the person who sets the tone for an organization, a manager that possesses integrity or good character creates respect for the company. This person is always professional, yet has empathy. Effective managers never throw their employees under the bus and embrace the larger purpose of the company’s goals.
  • Communication – Higher employee engagement is intrinsically linked to communication – via phone, email or in person. Managers who meet with employees on a regular basis are three times more likely to have engaged employees, according to Gallup research. Equally as effective are managers who have conversations about life outside of work along with discussions about the roles, responsibilities and progress of their people.
  • Ability to Set Expectations – Good bosses are able to help employees set work priorities and goals year-round rather than during performance reviews. Gallup research found that establishing clear expectations is among the most basic of employee needs and plays an important role in overall performance. Employees that understand what is expected of them and know how their work fits into the company’s goals tend to be more productive and creative.
  • Leading by Example – Bosses are not afraid to get their hands dirty, and are willing to do the work no one else wants to tackle. Effective bosses don’t have a sense of entitlement.  Employees actually want a good boss to lead; they don’t simply accept that they will do so because of a person’s title.

Managers who possess these qualities tend to create successful teams and experience low turnover within the ranks. They improve the company’s reputation as an employer and provide stability that makes achieving company goals easier.

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