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With Christmas just a couple of weeks away, what do you think your employees will get you? A new pen? A trip to a spa? Or will they skip the whole gift-giving thing since they skipped boss’s day back in October?

If your employees blew right past boss’s day and haven’t hinted at any upcoming holiday presents, it may be time to re-examine your managerial style (Even if you are a good boss, there is always room for improvement). So…are you a good boss? What about a great boss?

It may be hard to rate yourself because after all – we are all busy (and not really objective about ourselves)! You may be thinking – “How am I supposed to have time to think about what kind of boss I am or what kind of boss I want to be? I’ve got stuff to do!”

Well, we’d like to help you out. Today, we are giving you 10 tips for being a great boss. Just 10 simple tips that you can start implementing today and hopefully help you work toward getting a better boss’s day gift or holiday gift next year – but hey! That’s not what it’s all about! 🙂

Top 10 Tips For Being A Great Boss

1. Drive goals that achieve results.

At Integrity HR, we believe it is important to be a role model for all employees. As the boss (whether that means you are the head honcho or a manager), you need to set a good example by reaching for goals that align with the company’s overall mission and strategic plan. We all learn best from people who do what they say and set a good example. This could mean that you show your employees how you’ve learned from your mistakes and still moved forward.

If you do so, you will be their rock and a pillar of advice when they need assistance. If a boss exhibits these characteristics and qualities, whatever goal you have set for your team will have a better chance of being accomplished.

2. Hold yourself accountable first, then your employees.

There are no absolutes in business. You make commitments, put yourself on the line, and then see how you did. Unless you complete that feedback loop and hold everyone’s feet to the fire, nothing really counts.

However, before reprimanding employees for making mistakes, you need to hold yourself accountable. You must acknowledge your own mistakes before pointing the finger. While you may think this will make you look vulnerable in front of your employees, it will often have the opposite effect. You want to show your employees that you are fearless (but not without fault) and this will promote respect as well as a positive work environment where everyone is in it together!

3. Keep your cool.

In other words, you’ve got to keep it together. Fake it ‘til you make it, right? As the boss or manager, you will be looked to first to see how other should react to a positive or negative outcome.

So, you’ve go to keep your cool. You don’t want to be that boss who starts screaming and yelling when something doesn’t go your way (especially in a meeting with prospects or clients). Take deep breaths and really think before you speak. Every step you take in a delicate situation should be calculated as if everyone is watching (no pressure).

4. Fix things.

A big part of running a business or leading a team is troubleshooting and problem solving. Whether it’s a product, a customer, or an employee, every day brings new challenges and problems to solve. Every great manager should be proactive and create plans to fix problems before it is too late. So get out your crystal ball and start predicting the future! But seriously, try to always be thinking a few steps a head of everyone else so you can be prepared.

5. Have a feel for the business.

A lot of managers have been known to just put their heads down and try to be good at their specific function. While that may make a great employee, it takes a little more to be a great boss.

The best managers and bosses have a solid understanding of all the key aspects and overall strategic plan for the business. They can simultaneously complete their tasks while providing guidance and management for everyone on their team. Don’t worry – this takes time to master.

6. Manage up, down and sideways effectively.

What in the world does that even mean? Managing up means that you need to manage your boss (if you have one). Most managers have someone that they have to report to whether that is the CEO or a Board of Directors. (Check out our video blog on how to manage your boss here).

As the boss or manager, you need to manage down and show your employees the best way to approach you, the best way to communicate with you, and when they should involve you in situations.

Now, managing down and sideways can get a little tricky because it takes a lot of delegation. The delegation of tasks to team members is potentially one of the most difficult challenges for managers and bosses. Failing to delegate to your team can negatively affect morale and stunt the growth of your employees. Also, by not delegating, you can become overwhelmed with detailed tasks that keep your focus off of more strategic work. Not good!

To be successful in delegation, you must be able to articulate what exactly needs to be done and who would be successful in bringing the task to completion. The secret of delegation lies in giving your team members “ownership” of the project.

As much as it might pain you, give over the keys and step back. Let your employees take the wheel and show off their talents. But just be available for assistance if things start to crash and burn! (Side note: sometimes as a manager, you need to let your employees fail and learn from their mistakes.)

7. Be an awesome decision-maker.

More than anything, management is about decision-making. Not rash, reckless decision-making, but logical, well thought out decision-making. But you don’t always have a lot of time to make these logical decisions. Employees usually need an answer now!

Being an awesome decision-maker will take some time. And you will probably make some bad decisions every once and a while. Don’t worry! Just refer to tip #2 on owning up to your mistakes and moving forward!

8. Be effective, not just productive.

We live and work in a fast-paced, ever-changing, highly competitive world. Maybe there was a time when process and productivity ruled, but these days, you need to be flexible and adaptive (all the while being productive and compliant). Whew that’s a lot to ask!

As a boss, you’ve got to prioritize your projects, your team member’s projects, and your own managerial time. Once you figure out the most important needs and projects, you need to take action. Sometimes this means you might need to delay finishing a project because an employee needs critical coaching. At the end of the day, you can’t be a great boss without a great team.

You need to give your employees the resources necessary to do their jobs as well as clear guidance, structure and coaching. So invest the time in your employees and you will be amazed at how much your team as a whole can really accomplish.

9. Live for your job.(But don’t forget to sleep)

The best bosses live for their jobs and encompass the company’s mission and values into their daily lives. However, this doesn’t mean you should burn the night oil EVERY night and become that grumpy executive your employees are scared of.

You must be passionate about what you do and exemplify that to your employees. If you want your employees to be invested in your company, then you must set the shining example. Be engaged, driven and motivated. That’s not asking too much is it?

A rule of thumb to remember is employees are typically more successful when they have a boss that is just as engaged as they are expected to be.

10. Show gratitude.

It can be as simple as saying, “Thank you” or as extravagant as hosting an employee appreciation party complete with bonuses for everybody!! Research has shown that businesses that regularly recognize the work efforts of employees have lower voluntary turnover rates than those that don’t use these practices.

Not only do they keep their employees around longer, but these organizations also outperform their competitors who are lacking in the recognition department.

So go on…splurge for that employee appreciation party and make your company a “best place to work.” (For some ideas on celebrating employees, check out our blog here on 5 steps to celebrating employee anniversaries)

Final Tips For Being A Great Boss…

These are just some of the guidelines you should keep in mind when managing a team with the hopes of being productive and maximizing the bottom line of your company.

In the end, when you have faith in your team, show respect to your team members, and stay consistent in your management style, you create a trusting, supportive and positive work environment. After that, everything else will fall into place and you will become a great boss!

Budgets are tight. What are you doing to help your bottom line?
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Our team talked to business leaders who have taken the step to outsource HR and provided real world insights and learnings in this free resource. Learn more about how HR Outsourcing can impact your bottom line, and see if it is a good fit for your business.

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about the author: Amy Letke

Amy Newbanks Letke, SPHR, GPHR, is the Founder of Integrity HR, Inc. Amy provides workplace solutions to improve performance, reduce liability and increase profits. She is passionate about helping other entrepreneurs and business owners achieve success.