What makes a good boss, great?

It’s been a busy week here at Leading HQ, I’ve just returned from a project on site with a wonderful client in the deepest depths of Norfolk who needed a little help with some staffing matters. On my first day, one of the things that struck me was how happy and invested in the business the team were. Literally, from the receptionist that greeted me through to the company accountant, the commitment to the business throughout was phenomenal.

As somebody who is passionate about employee engagement, it is delightful to see a company doing such a great job of taking care of their staff. I don’t just mean financially, but also through providing the emotional stimulation to get the very best out of somebody. As my time on this project drew to a close, it became obvious that the incredible culture was nurtured by the owners themselves. For example, each and every Friday, the entire company would go to the local pub for a lunch paid for by the company. As one of the owners explained, “It gives us time together in a social context where the focus isn’t on discussing work. We find strong bonds form between our teams and this pays us back ten-fold when we need volunteers to stay late or give up their weekend for a big project”. All of the employees I spoke with recognised the owners as true leaders and felt the culture was completely different to anything they had experience before.

These owners clearly recognise how to create a culture of excellence. It isn’t just through treating the staff regularly but displaying some key attributes consistently in all of their endeavours. So it made me wonder, what really makes a good boss, GREAT?

  1. They are able to inspire

A great manager is passionate about what they do, they are clear about their objectives and genuinely care about the company, people and culture. Importantly, they LOVE what they do, they infect others with their enthusiasm and inspire others to share their vision.

  1. They are open and honest

A great boss understands that to establish a positive working relationship, they must encourage transparency and honesty in all undertakings. They promote consistency in behaviour so employees always understand that they will be treated equally and fairly and don’t have to spend time second guessing what reaction they will receive if they own up to a mistake, for example. Whilst a great manager values confidentiality, they also do not withhold information they have the freedom to share with others.

  1. They are on your side

Put simply, great managers ‘have your back’. They won’t throw their staff under the bus at any given opportunity and will spend time helping them to overcome challenges and develop their confidence.

  1. They ‘get’ you

A great manager takes time to get to know their staff. They take a genuine interest in each person’s aspirations and is committed to helping them flourish. They are also able to identify strengths and weaknesses amongst their team and work hard to promote and counter both.

  1. They keep their cool

We have already agreed that a great manager promotes consistency, they are also as cool as a cucumber. When times get tough, great managers batten down the hatches and prepare to weather the storm. They remain focused and even under incredible pressure, they will not fold.

  1. They are not a robot!

A truly great manager is human and they don’t care who knows it! Back in the old days, being ruthless, robotic and not showing emotion may well have been valued traits. However, in this day and age, being approachable, warm and having a heart is the key to getting and keeping your people onside.