How to NOT be a Bad Boss

We’ve all had that boss. You know the one. The one that didn’t take the time to connect with you. The boss that barked orders but rarely stopped to listen. That guy that wasn’t approachable or offered training when you needed to develop your skills. You tried to fly under the radar with for fear of being confronted. Yep, that one. As the boss, we constantly have the idea of “that boss” in our heads as we focus our energy on how to not be a bad boss. 

But how do you actually avoid being a bad boss? The idea can be overwhelming. There is so much information swirling in your head about what NOT to do that there doesn’t seem to be a lot of information available regarding what you SHOULD do. 

Well good news my friends! We have all the secrets to being the boss you truly want to be! So let’s get into it.

The Foundational Law of Human Behavior is quite simple. Our THINKING drives our BEHAVIOR which determines our RESULTS. Therefore, if we want to change our results, we must change our thinking. As it applies to this topic, don’t think of yourself as a ‘boss’ at all, instead think of yourself as a (performance) coach. By shifting your mindset, you’ll naturally behave like a coach, and get the results of a coach. So how do you think like a coach?

Great question! Let’s get into the background of a coach. A coach is someone who leads a team. They have big goals and ambitions that all point to the same end…success! A coach teaches, guides, and knows when to push in. He or she delegates, supports, and gives pep talks along the way. They believe in you and challenges you out of your comfort zone. Is your mind there yet? Good. Now let’s unpack it! 

First, understand that there are 3 questions every team member has of you (that you want to make sure you answer in the affirmative):

  1. Do you care about me? Remember the saying, “I don’t care how much you know, until I know how much you care.” We have to show with our words and, most importantly, our behavior that we care about them as a person and a team member. If we don’t care about them, they know it and it not only impacts the culture of the team but the quality of the work produced. 
  2. Can you help me? Only initially, is the ‘help’ we need about teaching me how to do my job. After that, if we continue to focus on telling them how to do their job we’re called ‘micro-managers’, because the ‘help’ they need isn’t about how to do their job. So it’s important for us to find out what help they really need…by simply asking. Do this regularly! 
  3. Can I trust you? If they aren’t sure they can trust you, they will hold back and not give you their best effort. They will focus only on their interests, if they believe you are only focusing on yours. You’ll need to prove over time (because trust must be ‘earned’) that you have their interests in mind as well and that you’re a person of good character and integrity. Having a trusting bond can take your business to new heights because you’ve made it safe for them to step out, try new things, apply themselves, and ultimately advance the business to your benefit. 

Now that you’ve processed the three questions, you’ll want to understand the 4 steps to becoming a successful leader (not a bad boss):

  1. Connect with them as a person. Get to know them, and help them get to know you. As people we always connect best on common ground. We crave a connection that makes us feel as though we are a valuable part of something. So work hard to learn what you have in common. Don’t just settle on common interests, but also beliefs, values, experiences, aspirations, etc. Don’t get us wrong…bonding over The Office through a Jim and Pam reference can go a long way but also understanding that they value time with family or aspire to learn a particular skill can further deepen the connection you have! 
  2. Add-value (to them and their lives) – Be the first to give of yourself, your time, your knowledge, and your resources. Giving first creates a positive environment within which the team member feels comfortable and willing to (in return) give you their best. When you show you’re committed to them, they’ll show you they are committed to you.
  3. Navigate –  Set priorities, direction, and provide resources. In a word….LEAD. Let them know the objectives and the plan to achieve them. Also equip them with what they need to succeed in their role as part of the team. When we truly understand the ‘journey’ that we’re sending them on, then we will know exactly what they need to succeed. Do they need training, tools, equipment, authority, time or clarity of expectations? By knowing this, we can better prepare and support them. 
  4. Build Momentum – Just ‘solving problems’ isn’t enough. That simply removes challenges, but it doesn’t move the team (and your business) forward. Building momentum is about forward movement, about progress. It starts out slowly, and builds with time (and consistent effort). Once it gets going it helps all the problems appear smaller (and easier to solve), and opportunities easy to pursue.

Being a good boss and leader really isn’t as scientific as it may seem. As you can see from the list that these are all things anyone can do. You do not need a specific personality, formal education, or even experience. You need only the drive and consistency to implement these principles. So what do you say? Are you ready to be the best boss you can be?

Next Steps

It’s awfully hard to be the boss without a team behind you! If you are looking to hire but feeling overwhelmed, grab our Complete Guide to Hiring! ​​Our Complete Guide to Hiring is a 33-page resource with everything you need to get started hiring! Gain access to a worksheets to get you started, a guide with samples on how to write your description, additional places to post your job, vetting tools, interview questions, and 5 templates (including an offer letter!) that are ready for you to take and implement right away!  

Still have questions?

We know that there is a lot to sift through when determining what is best as you are building your team! If you are finding yourself with more questions than answers, please reach out to The Abundance Group! You can find us on Instagram @theabundancegroup

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