How To Be A Great Boss: 27 Tips

By Greg Boudonck

Do you have a great boss?

Do you believe you are a great boss?

How do you think your subordinates would respond if asked that about you?

No matter if you are President of the United States, a Company Commander, a Platoon Leader, the CEO of a large corporation or a manager in a small store, you are a boss to some individuals.

I don’t know about you, but over my 50+ years, I can count the number of GREAT bosses I have had on 1 hand.

And I have had a lot of bosses.

I will admit that some were good, but not to the level of great, and the majority had no business being bosses.

They were terrible.

Now there will be those times that even great bosses have those bad moments; after all, they are human too.great boss

But a true sign that they are great bosses is that those moments are short lasting, and they are back to being great again.

So what makes a boss great?

Here are 27 tips on how to be a great boss.

1: You set realistic goals

If you really want to drop morale quickly, just set some goals that are completely unreachable.

There is nothing wrong with setting goals high, but they need to be attainable.

Be sure and have a plan drawn up on how to reach those goals too.

2: You invite creativity

I had one boss years ago that when I asked how to do something to his standard, he would often say to be creative.

And when I was creative even if it didn’t work out well, he would pat me on the back with appreciation for my creativity.

I loved it and that will always stay in my heart and mind… He was a great boss.

3: You stay clear of gossip and politics

The fact is: gossip is evil and will lead to your downfall as a leader.

Politics happen everywhere, but great bosses know to stay clear of playing the political game that often occurs.

4: You encourage career growth

Many bosses have the “take care of me” mindset.

Great bosses are truly concerned with their subordinates welfare and they will encourage them to take courses, classes and develop their career path.

5: You have a sense of humor

Great bosses will laugh and even tell a joke now and then.

Yes, you cannot let that go too far, but showing you have a sense of humor will let your subordinates know that you are a fun-loving human too.

Just pick your humor wisely.

6: You generate happiness

What this comes down to in my opinion is that you have a positive mental attitude.

Even though Murphy’s Law is always near, you are able to keep your attitude high which will lead to a happy team.

7: You are cool during crisis

While you may feel like screaming and yelling, will it help?

Holding your cool but being serious will show your team that you can handle even the most dire circumstances.

This is the best boss to have in a combat situation.

Other posts you may enjoy:

  1. 17 Good Questions To Ask Your Boss
  2. How to Earn Your Boss’s Respect In the Army
  3. The Best Question to Ask Your Army Boss
  4. Top 9 Tips to Deal with a Difficult Army Boss
  5. What Do You Look For In a Good Army Boss?

8: You hold personnel responsible for their actions

If a subordinate made a decision that was wrong, or they did something out of line, you are willing to confront that person and hold them responsible.

When leaders procrastinate or don’t do it at all, respect is lost quickly, even by the person who did the wrong.

9: You are empathetic

As a leader, you must remember what it was like when you were not the leader.

Using some empathy is not a bad thing.

Many leaders have no idea what the word means.

Remember, you were once there.

10: You have the ability to share the overall vision

You may have a vision as to what you want accomplished, but if you can’t or won’t share that vision with your subordinates, how can they have the same mindset?

Learn how to share the vision.

By doing so, you will inspire and the team will all be on the same page.

11: You are able to admit when you don’t know the answer

Some bosses have this idea that they need to be able to answer every question, even if the answer is bullshit.

You will gain more respect when you can just admit that you do not know the answer, but you offer to do your best to find out the answer.

12: You are open to input on decisions

The great boss is willing to listen to subordinate recommendations and input.

While there is an understanding that you may not follow the recommendation they have, you should thank them and explain if you will take that under consideration or why you disagree with the recommendation.

13: You are willing to defend your subordinates with your superiors

If you gave a subordinate a task and they are doing it and your superior approaches them or you stating that it is wrong, you defend that subordinate and even take the blame for the decision yourself.

When you look at the greatest leaders in history, all were willing to defend their subordinates.

14: You are clear about expectations

You need to be very clear about what you expect from your subordinates.

By doing so, if they fail to meet those expectations, they have no excuse that you did not explain it clearly.

It is wise to put everything in writing.

15: You show no fear

Fear is the greatest enemy of success.

Mistakes and errors will happen but to be a great boss, you cannot show fear of mistakes or errors.

16: You use unique talents for the greater good

Great bosses recognize the special talents of all their employees.

By being creative, you should be able to use those talents for the greater good.

Many great bosses keep a notepad on their subordinates and jot down talents they notice and then brainstorm ways they can use those talents within the system.

17: You create an expansive thinking atmosphere

This goes along with the majority of other tips I have left in this post.

You want your subordinates to expand their thinking.

Yes, mistakes will happen, but as it expands there will be less mistakes and bigger and better actions.

18: You form a community

You need to make it a family…a community.

If everyone is working together like a community, great things can happen.

If everyone is working like “lone” players, there is no team and it will fall apart.

19: You run efficient meetings

We have often spoke about this subject here on Part Time Commander.

I hate meetings and I bet you do too, but some meetings are required.

Keep meetings to 1 hour or less and plan them out so they run efficiently.

You will gain huge respect by doing so.

20: You are honest and trustworthy

This is essentially a no-brainer.

Great bosses are honest and will not beat around the bush.

Great bosses are trustworthy in that their subordinates can tell them anything without fear that it will be told to others.

21: You have a willingness to do the same work you are ordering

Here is one that many leaders need to learn.

So you are ordering a soldier to dig a hole in the mud; will you do it?

Would you do it?

How about showing that soldier that you can and will by digging a few shovels before giving them the shovel?

The best bosses I ever had would never ask me to do something they were not willing to do themselves.

22: You provide feedback

Your subordinates need to know what the did right, wrong and what could be done different the next time.

They need and desire feedback because that is how they learn.

Do not procrastinate on giving feedback.

23: You do not micromanage

Micromanaging is not the same as giving feedback.

Give them the task and let them do it.

Standing over their shoulder is the sign of a terrible boss.

24: You are approachable and you listen

The best way to do this is rip that door off your office.

Have an open door policy and be willing to listen to your subordinates.

When they know you are approachable, you will probably be surprised how much the morale will rise on the team.

25: You empower your subordinates

Give them tasks that will surprise them.

Show them you have trust that they can get it done and done right.

When you empower them in this way, you will be considered the greatest boss ever and one of your subordinates may even write a book about you.

26: You are willing to mentor and be mentored

Not only are you willing to teach others from your experiences, you are also willing to learn from others.

Great bosses both teach and learn.

27: You show praise and gratitude

This is probably the most important.

Many leaders are great at bitching, but then you never hear anything when you do it correctly.

Subordinates need to hear words of praise and gratitude more than they hear criticism.

Give them the atta-boys they deserve.

Final Thoughts

So after reading this, are you still believing you are a great boss?

I hope so but if not, now is the time to become one.

Follow the tips and you may just go down in history as being one of the greatest bosses ever.

So do you have any other tips?

Do you have any questions?

Just post them in the comment section below.

Thanks.

References

  1. http://www.inc.com/kevin-daum/10-things-really-amazing-bosses-do.html
  2. http://www.businessnewsdaily.com/1404-characteristics-good-boss.html
  3. http://hiring.monster.com/hr/hr-best-practices/workforce-management/hr-management-skills/what-makes-great-boss.aspx
  4. https://hbr.org/2015/11/the-easiest-thing-you-can-do-to-be-a-great-boss
  5. http://www.lifehack.org/articles/work/20-signs-that-youve-got-good-boss.html
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