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How To Be A Great Boss

How To Be A Great Boss

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So you’ve just ended up the boss of a company and now not really sure how to act and behave?

Worry not Office Supermarket fans bosses, you are not alone!

In this post we've posted some useful "Boss Tips" for those new to the job or for those who want to check they're getting it right. We've also consulted the expertise and opinions of 2 very successful bosses from 2 leading local firms close to OSM HQ.

The aim of this post is to demonstrate what it takes to be a good boss at work without having to resort to being your employees "bestest" buddy and inadvertently currying favourites.

And you know what? Being a good, fair boss is hard to do. Really hard.

So before you dive down to the tips take a few minutes checking out the following interviews about being a great boss!

First up - Rodney Tanton, former MD of Interlink Express Bristol - follow him via:

What 3 biggest challenges do you think British business owners/bosses face right now?

1. Do not be part of the recession, refuse to take part
2. Cash is the only thing that matters, Revenue is vanity, Profit is sanity but the only reality is Cash
3. Financial injections can be found for any business, have a business plan and measure your progress

What 3 traits should a good boss seek to avoid (and why)?

1. Firm but fair was the 80's. Now its about managing people as per their behavioral style not yours. The trick is to get the most out of your colleagues, money may motivate in the very short term but a consistent managerial style will overcome all. Those who work for you are not your friends, they are your colleagues.
2. Communication is essential, but only the relevant understood information. Do not confuse your colleagues with information they cannot process or understand.
3. Closed door policy - the joke of the last century, be approachable. Remember that those who do the doing usually know how it can be done more efficiently and at less cost - Listen!

What 1 trait should a boss seek to develop and be really good at?

Make decisions, by all means make the wrong decision but see it as a success - for every bad decision there are 99 good ones and for every time no decision is made there is nothing.

If you had to be boss a second time round (i.e with greater wisdom and hindsight) what would you do differently?

If I had my time again I would have put on a suit (the uniform for job as a boss in my industry) and led! The mistake I made was to try and lead from within a team.

In the business world which business leaders/bosses do you respect the most (or who do you sit up take notice of and follow on Twitter)?

I like the one liners! These come from business coaches and icons of the past; if I could choose a Twitter account to follow it would be Andrew Carnegie although he's obviously not alive today. I fear too many Twitter accounts are managed and not posted by who you think they are.


Next up Tom Doherty - General Manager of the HR Dept, HR Specialists - who also kindly took the time to answer our questions, give them a read for some real "boss" insights!

What are the 3 biggest challenges British business owners/bosses face right now?

1. Finding the right quality and skills of people when recruiting.
2. Dealing with difficult staff members, a lot of business owners are unsure about what they can say and what they can’t say to their staff for fear of an employment tribunal.
3. Financing growth plans


What 3 traits should a good boss seek to avoid (and why)?

1. Micromanagement – doesn’t empower people and means you are working in the business not on it
2. Not listening – two ears, one mouth.. encourage your staff to talk to you and set up your management time to have regular reviews with your staff
3. Lack of passion – if you aren’t doing something you love, then where is the fun in that?

What 1 trait should a boss seek to develop?

Positivity – Aspiring people align themselves to positive people – if you are the boss or leader you have to inspire others to help create your vision.

If you had to be boss a second time round (i.e with greater wisdom and hindsight) what would you do differently?

Focus on activities which help grow your business, it is easy to get distracted but having a simple structured plan to communicate to all your team is vital – like a 90 day planning process.

In the business world which business leaders/bosses do you respect the most?

Not so much business, but I still think Sir Alex Ferguson is still one of the greatest leaders (though for any football fans out there I am not a Man Utd fan)


And NOW the Pro Tips on Being a Great Boss

  • Respect others, don’t expect to be seriously respected if you cannot do the same
  • Don’t micro manage your team, show them clearly what’s required and let them get on and do it
  • Don’t belittle staff in front of others – if someone is not performing find out the underlying issue (stress, family issue, medical, lack of training, lack of confidence, no interested) and take action
  • Do not operate a blame game. Make it clear if someone messes up you’ll help them – though make it clear there are boundaries i.e. someone who clearly makes the same mistake due to carelessness rather than a lack of skill needs the boot
  • Foster a sense of creativity, invite suggestions for improvements from staff and if implemented reward them for their help
  • Bosses that are prepared to roll up their sleeves and jump into the trenches with the team get far better feedback from staff
  • When appropriate look to help further your employees own career development within the business
  • When you hold a meeting make sure its run efficiently to make sure nobody’s time is wasted (plan an agenda to guide you through)
  • Ensure there are clear goals and a company vision to help give direction to your team
  • Reward staff, give praise and show some gratitude – but don’t overdo it, if you do reward someone make sure it’s a reward they value (note: it doesn’t always have to be a cash bonus, a day off given as a reward can be just as highly prized)
  • Make it very clear to everyone that you carefully LISTEN to what is said to you but that doesn’t mean you will action everything that’s discussed
  • Allow your team (and yourself) to have reflective time to review your decisions, successes and mistakes
  • Surprise your employees by asking “how can I help you today?” – select a member of staff on a random basis and give them some of your time on an individual basis
  • Motivate your team – show a real interest in their actions in work and successes outside in their social lives too (if someone’s football team wins a league that’s a BIG deal)
  • Lead from the front, don’t work 9am till 3pm, head out to the pub and expect your team to cover for you – put the hours in and lead by example
  • Give credit to employees where credit is due – there’s nothing better than bringing an employee in to show off their idea to others in the team or even customers. Make a big thing about employee engagement
  • Work out who in the company works enough to keep their job, then find out who in the business goes above and beyond, these are the people you should promote
  • Don’t short-change employees – if they go out of their way for you, return the favour
  • As tempting as it is don’t become too friendly with your staff, others will see it as a means of favouritism which can backfire. Keep your communications direct but friendly, use some humour and be professional but don’t go inviting them to Christmas dinner at your place!

So what tips do you have on being boss? Let us know in the comments section below!

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