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5 Tips For Being a Great Boss

I hate jerky co-workers.

And I can’t respect the bosses who let them get away with it even more so.

I certainly do not ascribe to the “Steve Jobs principle” where it’s OK to be a mean person if the work output is exceptional.

Frankly, I’ll take my chances with work that is “OK” and take the time to develop the talent of the responsible party if they are a decent person.

I have always had the philosophy that we spend so many hours of our lives at work and away from our families that we owe it to ourselves and our work families to be, ya know, not a jerk.

When I was younger, I took this to be common sense, but as I’ve gotten older and spent more time in the business world and work environments, I’ve learned that such is not the case.

I have been both an employee and an employer, and I still can’t wrap my mind around the people who are permitted to make other folks’s lives miserable.

So if you’re a boss of any type, I’m going to do you a total solid here. I’m going to give you some tips on how to not be the type of boss that everyone hates, because I’ve had my share, and I always promised myself I’d never permit anyone I dealt with to be the victim of a work jerk or a bad environment if I could help it.

And you almost always can.

Be polite

Everyone knows you’re in charge. It costs you nothing to be polite and make others feel worthy with a simple please, a smile and a thank you. When you are kind to people and polite, it’s like watching a butterfly come out of a cocoon sometimes. People start to feel great and they start to want to do better because they enjoy the manner in which they are treated.

Kindness begets kindness.

Give credit where credit is due.

This one is really more geared toward management. I have had my share of good ideas and hard work claimed by a manager or upper executive in my day. And I kept all of those people in a little folder in my memory titled “People Who I Will Never Work With Again Because They Will Always Screw You Over”.

There is nothing cooler than giving someone credit for their idea. It costs you nothing.

Think about it in a purely selfish manner. Your team is supposed to make you look good. Your people should be awesome, and when you give kudos it shows you are managing valuable assets.  It takes a great manager to manage highly valuable people very well.

End bad hires quickly

You want to do something for your team that they would appreciate? Cut out the cancer in the group and get rid of them. Yes, I know that’s pretty brutal. I’m not talking about the person who is clearly having a rough month because they are going through a divorce and it’s rocked their very existence.

I’m referring to the jerk who eats everyone’s food, is totally rude and makes everyone’s work harder because they have to do extra stuff just to deal with their screw ups. You know who I’m talking about. Every office, unfortunately, has at least one. It’s the idiot who always makes off-color jokes that makes everyone uncomfortable because you know he really means what he’s pretending to joke about. Or it’s the lady who does just the bare minimum until it’s time to clock out and her other teammates have to work extra just to make sure deadlines are met.

When you put that kind of pressure on your team, they feel neglected and wonder why they are putting in so much effort when it’s simply paid off with the same benefits as the people who don’t care.

If you know you hired this garbage, throw them out with the next pickup. Seriously, save yourself and especially your team the stress of dealing with the office jerk.


Your team is in the trenches every day. Listen to what they have to say about clients, productivity and other team members. Make it OK for them to come and chat about what concerns them and give them the option communicate things anonymously in case it’s a sensitive topic.

The things you learn from listening are priceless. Make sure you give kudos and reward anyone for ideas that bring about good changes and increased revenue as well.

Be Giving

Everyone loves being treated to some goodies. Make Fridays the day you bring in free breakfast or lunch.

Go to your local spa and get a discount to send your staff to them. You’ll get a heck of a deal when you ask, and they’d love the business.

Take the team and significant others out for drinks once per month.

My point is, it doesn’t have to be expensive, and you can use your cool boss selling skills to make some deals. You just have to show your crew that you really appreciate them. And when you keep the work environment free of jerks and show some appreciation, you’ll get it all back tenfold.

As I stated previously, these are all very common sense things to put into play, but you’d be surprised at how many bosses really miss the mark with these.

I’d love to hear about your favorite boss and why they were or are your favorite.

5 Tips for being a great boss Infographic

37 Responses

  1. These are awesome tips. I never had a boss that followed any of these tips. In fact, I had one that was the very opposite. I had a coworker, who on her very first day was late and the boss kept her on and eventually let me go. And this is the reason I opted for working for myself.

  2. All these tips point to something very important, we need to remember we are humans and although we can have mistakes, we need to try to keep a healthy, cordial atmosphere at work.

  3. Some think that being a boss means he owns his staff. People misuse the power given and turn into something else than human. If any boss treated his staff in a kind yet professional way, the productivity will increase and the working environment will be a pleasant one!

  4. Awesome tips. I really enjoyed the section regarding listening the your subordinates. Leaders that take the time to listen really gain the trust of their employees. This will influence a better cooperate climate compared to other bosses that do not listen.

  5. Yes, love this! Why has no one said this before! People talk a lot about leadership as a worker, but the role of a boss is so important. Thanks for sharing.

  6. I really do love this list of five things for a boss to think about. I don’t usually think about cutting out bad hires. But it’s so hard to do when you work in a government sector. Sometimes it feels impossible. But I do think that cancers you need to find a way to move on.

    1. I agree, you have more hurdles in the government sector. I also think that if you nip those bad hires quickly, it’s easier than when they start getting entrenched in the system.

  7. If you’re doing all these 5 things, you’re a great boss! It’s great that you’re putting your foot down on this topic and showing bosses how to treat people right 🙂

  8. Am a super spoiler so i think I need to work on some adjustment to become more effective boss. 🙂 My employees might abuse my kindness 🙂

  9. I used to be a manager before working from home and all of these are so true. My husband is moving up in the company he’s working for, I’ll forward this to him too!

  10. Great tips, these! After being self-employed for so long and marching to my own drum I’d really struggle to have to deal with co-workers again, lol!

  11. Having good leadership skills is important when you’re managing people. I think these are definitely good ways to lead people and help make sure that you’re keeping the company afloat.

  12. “I have always had the philosophy that we spend so many hours of our lives at work and away from our families that we owe it to ourselves and our work families to be, ya know, not a jerk.” I have the exact same philosophy. Your tips are fantastic, I hope leaders implement them.

  13. Great tips! I’m bookmarking this post, because this is timely for me. I am seriously considering moving up to a management position in my company (provided that I pass the required tests and there are openings!), and this is the first time I’ve ever even had the opportunity to move up in any job! So, thank you for the great and timely tips, Dana. Also, I would like to give a shout out to the best two managers in my company, in my opinion, Bob and Tiffany, who exemplify great leadership and grace to me.

  14. I worked in an environment where the boss didn’t know how to be the boss. Tips he could use, for sure!

  15. These are all SO true. People will work harder when they know their boss appreciates them. And it takes NOTHING as a boss to let your people know they are valued. Unfortunately, I have a few people I could (and should) give this list to…

  16. Ah! Love everything about this post, but # 3 & 5 are gold. Someone once said people don’t leave jobs because of the job, they leave because of bosses from hell! It’s safe to say colleagues from hell are close. Every boss worth their salt needs the info-graphic 🙂

  17. I think we get much further in life through kindness…especially since it is no longer the norm, you actually stand out, sadly.

  18. Thanks for the tips and for the graphics! How I would come off as a boss was something I really considered before hubby and I started our own business!

  19. Thank de for sharing! This is so true… specially because I think the boss/leader makes a great team greater!! It applies at every aspect in life, even at home, I would say!

  20. Amen to all of these! I have definitely had to work with some of these types. I remember I had a job in college with some real jerks.. but I guess bc they had been there forever and they were way older than me, my boss didn’t do anything. I liked her as a person but her boss skills lacked and I hated going to the job everyday. She ended up letting me go then rehiring me bc she listened to them and not me. It was a mess. And in my career I’m the fashion industry I’ve dealt with jerks but that I’m used to and I definitely know how to handle them better.

  21. I’ve also been both an employee and a boss, and being a boss is definitely harder. One of the hardest things to do is hire the right person for the job. It’s one thing to know whether they are qualified or not, but it’s entirely another to know if they’re going to fit into the team. Once or twice, I hired a person that seemed like he/she was going to fit in great and it was a complete fiasco. And them having to fire them is even worse. Ugh.

  22. These are some amazing tips. I am my own boss, so I do not have to worry about this currently, but if I ever were to become someone elses boss, I would want to make sure that I am doing everything I possibly can to be respectful and the best boss I could be.

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