4 Ways To Be The World’s Best Boss

It probably wouldn’t surprise you to know that I have approximately a million goals.

A sampling:
Ride a bike through the forests of Bali (check!)
Teach my dog Luna how to high five (we’re …. working on it)
Be a dream boss to my team

Does that last one surprise you? It shouldn’t. I know that having a happy, engaged, committed team makes me exponentially more successful. When my team’s happy, I’m happy. I bring in more clients, I make more money, I can spend my evenings canoodling with my man and a few episodes of House of Cards – rather than responding to emails.




What are employees looking for in a dream boss?

Well, one person’s dream boss can be another person’s bore but a few qualities hold strong across industries and personalities.

I asked around to some of my favorite people to see what they look for in a boss, and weighed in with four qualities that any Dream Boss will possess. 

1. Provide challenges and development opportunities
The number one reason people actually voluntarily leave their jobs is because they don’t feel like they are challenged or growing their skills. Rarely do employees want to do the same thing, every day, for years at a time. Be a dream boss by looking for growth opportunities and exciting new challenges for your team. When you see that your marketing manager is getting better at communicating your brand on social media, praise her and hand off the duties for blog ghostwriting.

When you notice that your Virtual Assistant’s emails and presentations are absolutely typo-free, praise her and ask if she’d be up to the challenge of copyediting and proofreading your work. Pair new, challenging duties with praise and an explanation of why you know they’re ready for this new task. It shows them you have faith in them and their abilities.

2. Support
Everyone wants a supportive workplace, right? Employees want to feel valued. They want to feel like their boss knows them as a person. They want to know that their input and insights are really, actually considered. If they’re struggling with something major – a cross-country move, a death in the family, a significant illness – they want to know that we’ll cut them a bit of slack.

3. The right amount of management
You know who likes to be micro-managed? Absolutely no one. But hearing “I’m sure you can figure it out; let me know when you’re finished!” can be equally frustrating. Employees want enough guidance to feel confident in their duties and work, but not so much that they feel they’re being babysat – and this can be a difficult line to walk.

The solution? Open, honest communication. Before you hand off a task, ask your team if you’ve explained it thoroughly – or too thoroughly! Let them know that if they have questions, it’s better to ask sooner rather than later and that it’s totally okay to tell you that they’re ready to work more independently. Ask if them if you’re giving them too much information or checking in too frequently – or vice versa.

4. Development plans
We all want to get better, accomplish more, make more money – and your employees aren’t any different. Luckily, when encourage them to create a real, concrete development plan for themselves with your guidance, they get better, accomplish more, make more money … and you’ll get a happier, more motivated employee.

(If you’re interested in creating a development plan for your employees, you’ll love this tool to help you start the conversation)

Are you interested in being a Dream Boss? If you checked all the previously mentioned boxes, you can take it to the next level with a Stay Interview.

As the name cleverly suggests, a Stay Interview is the opposite of an Exit Interview, a concept I first discovered in the fantastic book Love ‘em or Lose ‘em. Instead of waiting till an employee is on their way out the door, what would happen if we conducted yearly interviews with our team? What if we asked them: What’s working? What’s keeping you here? Do you feel appreciated and supported? How can we keep you happy?

Being your team’s Dream Boss can lead to great things – bigger clients, more free time, a healthier profit margin. The ‘World’s Best Boss’ mug will just be icing on the cake.

What do you look for in a boss? In the comments, I’d love to hear about your favorite boss and what you liked about them!

Susan Drumm

Susan Drumm spent over a decade teaching companies like L’Oreal, Viacom and Condé Nast how to lead their teams towards multi-million dollar growth. Now she uses those same leadership skills to help entrepreneurs grow their businesses to seven-figure success. Your success as an entrepreneur depends on your ability to hire, inspire and lead team. Follow @DrummLeadership on Twitter and get Susan’s free ebook on hiring your dream VA here.

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