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How to be a Great Boss

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Posted by luke on

Running a business is never easy. Aside from the massive responsibilities on your shoulders for the success of the business, there are also the responsibilities of being a great boss. Aside from the pay, being the boss has few perks. You are responsible for everything, including your employees.

This becomes tricky, because a great boss needs to be able to have a balanced mix of likability and respectability in the eyes of his staff. If the boss is too concerned with being ‘likable,’ then they will find it difficult when they need to be assertive with staff. They may be seen simply as another employee and hence may receive a sub-par work ethic. However, if they are too strict and have no humanity, they can become resented and their employees will be on the lookout for a new job.

Today we are going to give you some strategies for being a better boss, so you can get the most out of your staff.

TIP 1: Be a Leader, Not a Boss

This piece of advice is thrown around quite a lot, but few people understand what it really means. What are the differences between a ‘leader’ and a ‘boss’?

Firstly, a leader is someone who is leading. If we look at a group of ants on the floor, there is always one ant at the very front, leading everyone else. The ant is also moving with the pack of other ants. He is down there in the thick of it. You never see a group of ants being led by one ant that is sitting on a reclining chair barking orders at the other ants and not moving.

Employees need to see that you are willing to put in more effort (or at the very least, the same amount of effort) than they are. If they work for someone who sets a high standard for him or herself, then they will be more likely to follow suit. The relationship is based on respect.

A trap that some bosses can fall into is delegating work without doing very much of it themselves. Even though there is a sound justification for doing less work – they are paying their employees to do it for them, people resent it. If an employee is working very hard and then sees that their boss is working a tenth of what they are, part of them will be annoyed. It is just human nature.

People are built to work in teams. If we see someone not pulling their weight, it does not wash well with others. Even if we know logically that we are being paid for our services, most of us don’t like being told what to do by someone who is lazy.

TIP 2: Explain the Reasoning Behind Your Decisions

“Because I said so” is an explanation we hear when we are 7 years old. The phrase sucked back then and it sucks now. Although there are times when you just have to make a decision and there is no time for a proper explanation, the majority of the time you should be able to back up your decisions to your staff.

This doesn’t mean that you need to give a breakdown of every request that you give to your employees. But if they ask, you should respond. Beyond being just a simple act of respect, you also open up the decision-making forum. Often times you will be able to find much better solutions to problems if you allow other people to put in their ideas.

“A bad boss will never help others, or ask for help. He’s too insecure,” Nelson notes. “He doesn’t want to appear as if he doesn’t have all the answers or he fears that, if he helps someone to succeed, that person will get all the credit.” (Fortune.com)

TIP 3: Learn to Manage Stress

Managing your stress effectively is a much more holistic process than just buying a stress ball and doing a 30-second breathing exercise. Stress is something that can come from a variety of different areas, with the main one being your health.

A lot of stress-relief business tactics are mental in nature. That is, they try to remedy stressful situations by improving the process by which we solve problems. You may have seen this as “find the problem, create a plan for the solution…etc.” Now, these things are good and are definitely effective, but they don’t address some of the deeper reasons that make people fly off the handle and crumble under stress.

The first big reason is sleep. Well-known nutritionist and author Shawn Stevenson says that a large majority of people are chronically under slept. A lack of sleep can be the cause of many serious health issues, including creating excess stress. A few of his tips are to:

  • Avoid any bright lights an hour before going to bed. This includes laptops, smart phones, TV and tablets.
  • Avoid any carbohydrates two hours before bed.
  • Make your room as DARK as possible. Turn off every little light in the room. Make it so dark that you can’t see your hand 30cm in front of you.

Other stressors include a bad diet. Diets high in processed sugars create sugar spikes and crash that mess with your body’s energy levels. The last thing you need during a ‘crunch-time’ report is to be operating on a sugar-depleted system.

Looking after your health is a key component to being a great boss (and even a great person in general). People vastly underestimate the power of their health when it comes to their professional and personal lives.

Being a great boss is not easy, but is incredibly rewarding. The reality is that most bosses are less than desirable, so if you master the art of being a great boss you will really stand out. Having loyal staff that respect you is one of the most powerful assets to a successful business.

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