3 Keys to Being a Good Boss – It’s About Presence, Praise & Promise

Today’s post is inspired by this one on small gestures made by good bosses, especially those at the most senior level.

It’s also inspired by a sneak-peek I got at the results of our latest Workforce Mood Tracker survey (report to be released soon, stay tuned), which showed employees would rather have a better boss than more money in their paycheck.

That caused me to think about the characteristics of a better boss. While there are many, these three seem to rise to the top continually:

  1. Presence – You not only “manage by walking around,” you show up to meetings on time to signal that you value the work your employees are doing. When you’re meeting with an employee, you shut off or totally ignore your email, IM, texts and any other interruptions to give your full attention to the employee. If employees need your support to push a key decision forward, you lend your visible presence and direct support.
  2. Praise – You make it a point to give your employees the frequent, timely and specific feedback they need to stay on track and move their projects forward appropriately. You recognize and appreciate them and their efforts that are especially in line with the company’s core values and strategic objectives. Because you are diligent about “catching employees doing something good,” you also help employees receive constructive feedback more readily as they know the feedback is intended to help them advance.
  3. Promise – You help your employees see the future they have with the organization and in their career. You don’t make undue or unwarranted promises of course, but you are committed to helping your team members grow and develop – and they know it. You seek out training and development opportunities for them and encourage them to go. You give them realistic “stretch” goals to help them develop skills.

These three skills are foundational to earning the “good boss” title and all the perks that come with it (committed employees who happily go the extra distance). But there are many more.

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What other signs of a good boss are important to you or do you strive to demonstrate?

You can find more from Derek Irvine on his Recognize This! blog.

Derek Irvine is one of the world’s foremost experts on employee recognition and engagement, helping business leaders set a higher vision and ambition for their company culture. As the Vice President of Client Strategy and Consulting at Globoforce, Derek helps clients — including some of world’s most admired companies such as Proctor and Gamble, Intuit, KPMG, and Thomson Reuters — leverage recognition strategies and best practices to better manage company culture, elevate employee engagement, increase retention, and improve the bottom line. He's also a renowned speaker and co-author of Winning with a Culture of Recognition. Contact him at irvine@globoforce.com.

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