12 Management Skills All Great Bosses Must Have


Share on LinkedIn

What is the definition of a great boss?

As a rule, great bosses are excellent communicators. They use verbal and body language to motivate, educate and inspire. But what else qualifies someone as a great boss? I sat down and recalled all of the bosses I have ever had. The good, the bad and the kind that still show up in my nightmares. The list below outlines management skills all great bosses should have.

1. Look into My Eyes. Making eye contact is an under-rated communication skill. Even if your iPhone is surgically attached to your hand, take your eyes off the screen, and really connect with your employee. While you might be listening closely, if you are not making eye contact with the person speaking, you appear to be distracted or uninterested. Both have extremely negative effects on employee morale. Eye contact sends a message to the employee that he or she has your full attention and is important.

2. Small Things Matter. Remember names of your employees’ spouse, children, life partner, pets, etc. Knowing the difference between Fluffy and Fido will score you many points. It is well known that employees feel motivated and special when a higher up remembers their name. Remembering not only your employees’ names (not always easy to do if you work for a large organization) but something specific to their personal lives will win your employees’ respect and inspire them to perform better.

3. Even the Playing Field. Share funny or embarrassing work stories with your staff. Using humor in conversations is a great way to build rapport with employees and can also relieve tension to make the work environment more relaxed. Also, laughing at your mistakes is a great way to open the lines of communication and encourage staff to share their work success and failures. Conversations like these often lead to constructive process brainstorming.

4. Tell It Like It Is. Correcting is one of the most important parts of being a great boss. When offering feedback to employees, especially when giving constructive criticism, focus on the facts. Clearly point out the incorrect behavior, explain the effect of the incorrect behavior, and clearly state what you expect the employee to do differently next time. Do not add unnecessary emotion or examples of past incorrect behavior. Focus on the current issue and why it is important to correct it.

5. Show Your Flair. We are all unique beings. Maybe you are a crazy tie guy or maybe you like to wear bright rimmed eye glasses. Expressing your personal style makes you memorable and approachable. Bosses are human too. Display family photos, examples of your hobbies and interests in your office. Give employees opportunities to bond with you.

6. Crack the Whip. Address inappropriate behavior in a timely manner. Be sure to document the discussion via email. Written word carries a lot of weight and is permanent. Memories of a discussion will fade but email stays forever.

7. Hey, It’s Personal. Some coaching can be done in public, but be sensitive to issues of privacy. If you have something important to say, invite the employee into your office or go on a walk around the block. Correcting in public can be a blow to someone’s self-esteem, and bad leadership examples spread like wildfire. Remember the golden rule: treat others how you would like to be treated.

8. Walk the Walk. You may have made a lateral career move from a competitor a few years back and are very good at your job, but take the time to educate yourself on the job duties of the managers and supervisors who work for you. Nothing builds respect faster than getting down in the trenches and rolling your sleeves up for a few hours. Being able to fill in for someone in a pinch not only increases company efficiency, but makes you a more valuable leader.

9. Keep the Peace. All employees are susceptible to stress. To maintain a well-functioning team, keep your eyes and ears open. Each individual has his or her performance limits. One employee may be a great multi-tasker and another single project orientated. Keep the peace by optimizing each employee’s strengths and reassign projects to suit work traits.

10. Show Me the Money – Not! Do not make the rookie mistake of assuming that that human motivation is tied to economic outcomes. Sincere personal interaction with your staff and colleagues will get you much further.

11. Be the Squeakiest. Inexperienced managers need their bosses to tell them when their team is over- or under-resourced or unbalanced. Listen to your employees and be proactive. Do you need to acquire additional resources, newer technology or recommend process changes? Your employees are integral to your success. Listen to them and be their voice.

12. Spread the Love. Great bosses redirect kudos and credit onto their team, or ideally, individual team members. Be gracious and share the spotlight.

Great bosses attract talented people like Winnie the Pooh to a pot of honey. Taking time to get to know and appreciate your staff will not only improve their performance, but will dramatically improve the working environment. You know you have succeeded when working on improving your management skills is no longer work – it’s just who you are and what you do.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Rachel Miller
Rachel Miller is the Customer Engagement Manager at Nimble - a simple, affordable social relationship manager.


Please use comments to add value to the discussion. Maximum one link to an educational blog post or article. We will NOT PUBLISH brief comments like "good post," comments that mainly promote links, or comments with links to companies, products, or services.

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here