How to be a Great Boss that Inspires

As a business owner, leader or manager of an entrepreneurial company, think about this for a minute: You may have a wonderful, awe-inspiring, audacious goal, a well-defined target market for an incredible product that everyone needs, wants, and is willing to pay a premium to own. You may possess a proprietary technology and even hold a few patents. But, if you don’t have an actively-engaged, fired-up workforce that can execute, none of those things will matter.

Comedian George Carlin once quipped, “Most people work just hard enough not to get fired and get paid just enough money not to quit.” According to a recent Gallup poll, only 32 percent of American workers are actively engaged at work and half are not engaged. Equally alarming is that 18 percent are actively disengaged, undermining the work of others. It’s sobering to think that your company’s performance is driven by less than a third of your workforce who work harder to compensate for those that don’t or won’t. What could your results be when more of your employees are engaged at work?

A Great Boss helps propel a business forward where a bad boss sets it back. The fact is bad bosses are the primary reason why many employees quit. If you really want employees to be more engaged, focus on being a Great Boss. Being average or not-so-great won’t cut it. Not in today’s environment.

4 Basic Truths about Leadership

In your quest to become a better boss, first you must embrace four basic truths:

1) It can be SIMPLE.

2) Your STYLE doesn’t matter. Whether you’re introverted or extroverted, stern or easy-going, just be yourself - but be consistent.

3) You must genuinely CARE about your people … the old saying is so true … No one cares what you know until they know that you care.

4) You must WANT it … no one can talk you into it. You must have an inner drive to succeed.

Leadership + Management = Accountability

Second, acknowledge that you can’t hold your people accountable. You must provide both strong leadership and management practices to create an environment where accountability is the bi-product. Think of it as a formula where L+M=A.

To create accountability in your organization, follow these leadership and management practices.

5 Leadership Practices

1. Give Clear Direction: Share a compelling vision of where you’re going, why it matters and how you will get there.

2. Provide the Necessary Tools: The training, resources, technology along with your time and attention so they can do quality work.

3. Let Go of the Vine: After you’ve provided the tools, get out of their way, stop meddling and let them run with it.

4. Act for the Greater Good: Ensure that your decisions and actions benefit the entire organization, not just you or your department.

5. Take Clarity Breaks: Schedule time to rise above day-to-day activities and THINK about work and life at a higher level. As Henry Ford once said, “Thinking is the hardest thing to do which is probably why so few engage in it.”

5 Management Practices

1. Create Clear Expectations: Create a two-way street where your people are clear about your expectations of them, and you’re clear about their expectations of you.

2. Communicate Well: Spend more time asking and listening versus telling and talking, ensuring that you are both on the same page.

3. Establish an Effective Meeting Pulse: Keeping the circles connected with each other by addressing issues and ensuring that the right things are getting done.

4. Have Quarterly Conversations: Schedule quarterly informal, higher-level, one-on-one conversations with each other to strengthen your relationship and to discuss what’s working and not working and what can be done to improve.

5. Reward and Recognize: People will work harder for recognition than money. Napoleon said, “A soldier will fight long and hard for a strip of yellow ribbon.” It’s simple, costs little, and pays big dividends.

When you consistently apply the Five Leadership Practices and Five Management Practices you create an environment where employees take responsibility, accept accountability, become more engaged and execute your vision. Start now.

How to be a Great BossRene' Boer has 30 years’ business management experience working with both privately-held and publicly-held companies. He’s been a franchisee, corporate executive, and small business owner. Since 2008, as a Certified Implementer of EOS, the Entrepreneurial Operating System, he has worked with Leadership Teams at more than 50 companies helping them grow their organizations while enjoying more freedom to enjoy life. Rene’ earned a BS in Communication from The University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point.  He’s the co-author, with Gino Wickman, of How to Be a Great Boss.