While being the boss is appealing, it’s not necessarily easy. Like many other aspects of business, becoming an effective boss is a learned skill. Here are a few tips to get you started:
Good Bosses Do:
1. Demonstrate Personal and Professional Integrity
As the saying goes, “Actions speak louder than words.” Allow your daily actions as leader to build the corporate culture of your business. That makes your job as a boss easier – people will see a great example of how they should act and will be more likely to follow it. People will also respect you for acting with integrity, which makes them more likely to take your lead.
2. Mind Their Manners
This may be a point which goes without saying, but good manners and proper etiquette are key when you’re in charge. Being a boss isn’t about yelling orders and striking fear into the hearts of your employees. It’s about creating a workplace where people want to do good work – and that means they need to be treated like people.
This doesn’t mean you need to take an etiquette class. It’s as simple as remembering to say thanks for a job well done or allow a little scheduling leeway for a personal emergency. Be polite to your employees and they’ll be polite to you.
3. Demonstrate Corporate Vision
Passion is contagious, so develop a vision for your company and share it with your employees. Connecting on a personal level with the work they do each day will allow them to feel like they are an integral part of the company. When you’re passionate and share your vision, your employees will strive to work harder to ensure the success of the future of the company, too.
4. Delegate Busy Work Tasks
Some people think that being the boss means that you need to do everything for the company. Having a staff you can count frees up vital time and energy to focus on boss-like things; like PR and rainmaking, growing the company, attending to clients, and continuing education.
Know when to delegate tasks so you can focus on the things which truly matter. That doesn’t mean that you should think that certain jobs are beneath you; it just means you need to be aware of your time management and spend your effort where it makes the most difference for your company.
That said, you’re running a small business and you may need to step in on the front lines from time to time. That’s actually a good thing – it keeps you in touch with your customers and with your employees’ experiences.
5. Be a Mentor
Part of being the boss means that you have valuable knowledge to share. Don’t look at the people who work for you as possible competitors or upstarts – look at them as valuable resources. When they grow professionally, they can do better work for the company. Find the folks that are eager to learn and help nurture that impulse. Your growing business is going to need other people that share your expertise.
Good Bosses Don’t:
1. Assume They Know it All
Effective leaders are always learning, whether that’s from those around them, from continuing education courses, from their mentors, or from reading. If you’re not willing to learn, you’re cutting out huge opportunities to grow and improve your business. You’re also going to turn off potential partners and employees with a know-it-all attitude.
2. Flaunt Their Authority
Just because you are the company head doesn’t mean that your employees and staff are beneath you. In fact, good bosses know that their companies won’t run without the dedicated help of quality people.
Communicating when you’re the boss requires you to walk a fine line. You want to convey an air of competence and authority, but you never want to demean or belittle those who work for you. Pay attention to tone when you’re communicating; it can make a big difference to how your employees perceive you. Just remember that every job is important for the success of your company, no matter the size.
3. Get Caught Up In Bureaucracy
Some paperwork is necessary – employee handbooks, an employee complaint system, etc. But some folks get too caught up in the bureaucracy in an attempt to make sure everything is running smoothly. That can mean endless piles of forms, hours of meetings, and other mindless red tape that gets in the way of real work.
Having more forms and meetings doesn’t make your business more professional. Make sure you’re only using those things when necessary and don’t be afraid to let your employees take a little initiative.
It’s your business and you know it better than anyone. That can make it hard to let go of tasks and let employees take over – what if they do it wrong? But as your business grows, you won’t be able to do every single thing that needs doing and you’re going to have to delegate.
That means hiring employees you can trust and training them to do the job right. And then it means letting go of that task. You’ll still need to provide oversight (that’s what a boss does) but don’t hover over their shoulders or require them to check in so often that it interferes with their ability to work (and lets them know that you don’t trust them to do their jobs).
5. Forget to Note Hard Work and Reward Success
When your employees do good work, your company succeeds. Acknowledging and recognizing employees’ work milestones, promotions, and success in project completion can build morale for all. Take the time to reach out to your employees and let them know you appreciate what they bring to the company. Show them that you understand that your company’s success depends on them, not just on you.
Be The Boss
Learning how to be a boss isn’t something you in school. Much of learning how to run a company is “on the job” training. It may take time to figure out your own particular management style and how to best run your company. Just recognize that much of being a good boss is about treating others with respect, acknowledging their commitment, and practicing interpersonal skills. When in doubt, know that you can never go wrong treating others as you would like to be treated.
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