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Leadership: Good Boss Stories

OK, there are a lot of good bosses out there too!

Last week I blogged about the bad bosses. This week, let’s look at the good ones. Take these cues and learn from the great ones. I recently heard this great-boss story:

A woman was about to start a new job when an unexpected medical emergency came up and she had to schedule significant surgery right before starting the new position. So she called up her boss-to-be and explained the situation. But rather than being upset, or calling the new job off, he arranged it so that she would start the job on disability leave and thereby get her salary to kick-in.

When her first check arrived two weeks later, it turned out that it was for her full salary and not the partial disability salary she expected. She called the boss to say that a mistake had been made, but he said no, that they decided to pay her normally. He wished her a speedy recovery and said that they hope to see her soon. Of course she is so grateful that she says they will have a loyal employee forever.

Isn’t that one of the main benefits of being a great boss – you get to create a happy and productive workplace? Yes, being a good boss sometimes costs more and requires greater patience, but the payoffs far outweigh any burdens:

  • You make more money. Studies show that happy employees create happy customers and happy customers create happy bank accounts
  • You instill loyalty and hard work. People like to work for people they like, and will work harder and better. They will also have a better attitude and be willing to go the extra mile
  • You can sleep at night: I can tell you that, having once had a boss threaten to put his cigarette out in my forehead because I didn’t hit my numbers that month, I don’t know how some of these people live with themselves. But the opposite is true too of course – good bosses set great examples

And the thing is, it is not that difficult to be a good boss. It is really a matter of trying to do the right thing. How about the boss who offered an employee all of the available overtime work one month because he knew she was in a bad financial situation? It didn’t cost him anything but it sure did gain him a lot. Or the boss who made sure that the pregnant cashier was able to sit down while doing her job?

Little things go a long way in the workplace.

I would bet that all good bosses have most of these traits in common:

They are fair: The hallmark of the bad boss is that life under their tyrannical rule is haphazard and unfair: Some people are favorites and others are not, some things make sense and many don’t. In contrast, the good boss is reasonable and fair. She treats people equally for the most part and people do not feel taken advantage of.

They trust employees to be adults: The good boss will avoid micromanaging because he knows that that seldom works and it demeans the employee. He knows that if someone needs a day off that they probably have a good reason.

They challenge you: It is not Pollyannaish, this being a good boss business. No one expects the good boss to be nothing but a rah-rah cheerleader. Rather, the good boss leads the way, expects your best, and rewards you in kind with either perks or compliments if you uphold your end of the bargain.

They listen: They may not always agree, but they listen – whether it is to a suggestion on how to do things better or why a raise is deserved.

They are respectful: Usually, they remember to say “please” and “thank you” which is increasingly, and sadly, not as common as before.

Steve Strauss - Founder, and
Steven is one of the world’s leading entrepreneurship and small business experts. He is a lawyer, public speaker and author, speaking around the world about entrepreneurship. He has been seen on CNN, CNBC, The O’Reilly Factor, and his column, Ask an Expert, appears weekly on | | @stevestrauss | More from Steve


Organize: Time Management Made Easy

5 Simple Tips to Help Manage Your Time

Did you click on the headline of this blog post eager to find the simple secrets of time management? Well, I have to admit, that headline was kind of wishful thinking. Time management isn’t easy (at least, not for many of us—including me) and we’re all looking for the simple solutions that will solve all our problems.
I don’t have one easy answer, but I do have some tips I can share—some that work for me, and some that my fellow female entrepreneurs swear by. Hopefully some or all of them will work for you:

  1. Get mobile. I couldn’t live without my BlackBerry, and my two business partners who finally bit the bullet and got BlackBerries love them too. It’s great being able to check e-mail without having to haul out a laptop. Being responsive to potential clients can make all the difference in getting the sale, so if you don’t yet have a smartphone or netbook, check out these tools and learn how they can help you be more productive.
  2. First things first. As a business owner, it’s easy to get caught up in putting out fires or answering e-mails, only to realize at the end of a 12-hour day that you didn’t accomplish anything of real importance. Every evening, figure out the one key task you need to accomplish the next day—and focus on that first. Yes, you may get interrupted, but if you go back to what really matters (whether it’s a proposal, a big job for a key client or maybe two hours of strategic thinking), your business will keep moving forward.
  3. Take time for you. I know this is a cliché and easier said than done, but grab time where you can to do something that relaxes you. Maybe that’s 15 minutes of checking your Facebook friends, meditating or catching up on a DVR’d soap opera. Don’t worry what anyone else thinks of your relaxation method, just do it. You’ll feel better.
  4. Delegate. Another tip that’s easier said than done for most women. We have trouble letting go. I recently read an article that said women are multitaskers at home and tend to carry that behavior to the workplace—often to their detriment. The same day, I read an article for top execs that advised, “Delegate everything you can.” Which behavior are you following?
  5. Streamline and simplify. Today’s technology allows us to automate many tasks or at least handle them online, eliminating time on the phone or in line. Take advantage of these tools whenever you can. One way to simplify is with business advice from SCORE counselors online, whenever you need it. Visit the SCORE website to find out more.
Rieva Lesonsky - CEO, GrowBiz Media
Rieva is CEO of GrowBiz Media, a content and consulting company specializing in covering small businesses and entrepreneurship. She was formerly Editorial Director of Entrepreneur Magazine and has written several books about small business and entrepreneurship. | @rieva | More from Rieva


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