7 Secrets to Being an Extraordinary Boss 0

How do you get your people to perform? By being the best boss that ever happened to them. The very top leaders drive bottom-line results for a company because they improve the lives of their employees.

I know that being a boss is hard. And I know that being an extraordinary boss is even harder. But, it’s work with a high return on investment.

Employees with an extraordinary leader are engaged, and engaged employees are more productive and motivated—they produce higher-quality work, take fewer sick days, and stay with your company longer.

In order to create an environment where employees are truly engaged, you need to get intentional about changing your company’s culture. The good news is that there are many things you can do to develop an environment that makes people feel genuinely happy and productive.

So without further ado, I present you with the seven keys to being an extraordinary boss:

1. Get to know your people

Photo: The Princess Bride / Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation

Photo: The Princess Bride / Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation

The people who work for you are just that—people! They are individuals who have their own dreams, goals, and drivers. And if you add more resources to support them, your people will thrive. Do everything you can to nurture meaning, mastery, and self-growth in your team and your people will pay you back with their loyalty and productivity.

2. Empower people to make decisions

Photo: Young Frankenstein / Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation

Photo: Young Frankenstein / Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation

Part of nurturing meaning, mastery, and self-growth is empowering your best employees to show leadership. Give your employees the tools and techniques to expand their thinking and solve issues with big ideas. Create an environment where creativity and problem solving are part of daily conversations. Enable employees to improve their departments and team. Your company will thrive when you develop leaders who rise from the inside.

3. Mentor your team

Photo: The Karate Kid / Columbia Pictures

Photo: The Karate Kid / Columbia Pictures

Extraordinary bosses provide coaching to get employees over hurdles. You can integrate learning and development as core components of each job position. Apportion time and dollars toward personal growth so that all of your employees become stronger in their abilities. Set up regular weekly 30-minute check-ins with your people to help them celebrate wins and overcome “stucks”. And on a regular basis, help staff understand how their actions contribute to the overall company mission and vision.

4. Set collaborative goals and review progress

Photo: Rocky III / MGM/UA Entertainment Company

Photo: Rocky III / MGM/UA Entertainment Company

Harvard Business School professor Teresa M. Amabile and Steven J. Kramer, an independent researcher, surveyed hundreds of workers in a variety of settings across a multiyear study and found that the number one thing employees said they needed to feel happy at their job was to see that they are making progress. As a leader, you can help people see their progress by setting meaningful goals for your department and for their position. Then involve your people in determining how they will accomplish their objectives. Give them a way to measure their activities and endpoints that demonstrate successes.

Recognize employee contributions

5. Recognize people’s contributions

Photo: The Office / National Broadcasting Company

Photo: The Office / National Broadcasting Company

Your employees create, build, sell, support, and produce the things that your customers buy. Recognize your people for their contributions–both large and small. It can be as small as a few words like, “Nice job, Marie.” Or it can be a more formal recognition, like publicly acknowledging a team member at a meeting or company event. When people feel appreciated for their efforts, they become happier and more engaged.

6. Remove the “bad apples”

Photo: Star Wars / Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation

Photo: Star Wars / Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation

When your business is filled with top-performers, you’ll see an exponential growth in productivity, customer retention, and profits. But just one bad apple employee can drive down team effectiveness by 30 to 40 percent! Although we think a strong, high-performing team can overcome a non-performer, multiple studies show there is simply no way to compensate for a losing player. Often, other A-players will have to pick up the slack by doing the extra work. If you have an employee who cannot fulfill their job responsibilities, it’s time to let them go. Once the bad apple is gone, your employees can achieve a much higher level of performance with less drama.

7. Connect to the company values and mission

Photo: Glengarry Glen Ross / New Line Cinema

Photo: Glengarry Glen Ross / New Line Cinema

Your company’s core values and mission are what provide a greater sense of meaning to your staff’s day-to-day decisions. Extraordinary bosses weave the values and mission into every aspect of departmental operations. In response, employees become increasingly passionate and enthusiastic about them. Study after study shows that core values drive employee engagement and corporate culture; in turn, that engagement and culture drive performance.

Being an extraordinary boss means inspiring your employees to reach for greatness. Commit to putting the above behaviors and systems in place, and your employees will do their work with pride and increase their dedication to your business and your customers.

Remarkable leadership is easily within your grasp and you can begin to make changes today. As a result of creating a fantastic workplace with engaged employees, your company will accelerate!

Did we miss anything? Leave a comment below to share other secrets to being an extraordinary boss.

About the Author Wendy is the co-founder of Kinesis, a Portland-based marketing firm. You can find her on Twitter and Google+. Read more »

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