Leading With Change + Innovation

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“If you really want to know about business, you should refer to Scott Steinberg.” -Sir Richard Branson, Virgin Group

Business Leadership: How to Be a Better Boss

It’s a common question amongst managers and employees alike: What makes a good boss? Naturally, everyone’s got a different answer depending on their approach to business leadership, management and corporate culture. Having had the privilege of working with many of today’s most successful organizations and individuals, we’ve discovered several characteristics shared by the most successful leaders. Adopt them, and the next time performance reviews and employee satisfaction surveys come around, you may be pleasantly surprised by the results.

What characteristics define a great boss or manager?

Among others: Patience, dedication to one’s craft, comprehensive knowledge of their chosen field and a willingness to both teach and learn from others they work with. Having no qualms about rolling up one’s sleeves and pitching in wherever the job demands is also vital – put simply, the best bosses and business managers lead by example. Essential as well is the ability to trust in coworkers’ talents, while also realizing that sometimes you have to step in and set the pace directly yourself. After all, there’s a fine, but essential art to knowing when to take the reins and when to let go.

Across the board, top bosses and business management professionals further possess a talent for being able to foster a sense of understanding and teamwork throughout any organization. To wit, great bosses don’t micromanage or play corporate politics. They inspire and empower team members, clearly communicate the value of any strategic goal or initiative, and can prompt a sense of enthusiasm and urgency in coworkers that’s contagious, and is reflected in the quality of their end work.

Are good bosses considered good because of their personality or leadership skills? Or is it a combination of both?

In all but a few cases, you’ll find that the top bosses boast a winning combination of personality and proven leadership skills. Make no bones about it: Empathy and understanding are crucial, but so is the ability to inspire, motivate and convey the importance of a job well done. A good boss is one that’s not just willing and ready to put in the long hours and late nights needed to earn their team’s respect. They’re also the kind of person that isn’t afraid to step up and tackle the tough questions, as well as provide a clear vision and understanding of the steps necessary to address these issues.

Can bad bosses become good ones? If so, how?

Without question: It’s generally just a function of time and patience, as good bosses typically become that way as a result of experience, open-mindedness and a willingness to learn from one’s faults.

Realize – few are born leaders, and even the greats make mistakes. Ultimately, it’s the ability to pick oneself up, objectively assess your failures and walk away wiser from these instances that defines the best individuals in any given field. Continuing education is also crucial, considering the pace today’s commercial fields move at and the blistering speed at which best practices constantly change.

The bottom line: The best bosses, like the best employees, continually invest in themselves, leveraging the knowledge and experience gained thereby to improve their on-the-job performance and skill set accordingly.

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