6 ways to be a great boss

[] Deeksha Singh | August 16, 2007 | 13:23 IST

If you can’t stand your boss and dislike your job because of it, you are just a small part of a large community who feels the same. But what if you have recently moved into the role of a teamleader, boss or people manager yourself?


While the ‘perfect boss’ is a utopian concept, here is a quick checklist that will save you the heartburn of dealing with attrition and unhappy employees.


Always meet your people with a great smile


A smile can make a lot of difference. Always be cheerful and energetic and spread the attitude within your team or organisation. It drives great results. A smile and a warm handshake can wear off the stress that most employees go through, not to mention that it adds to your desirability factor at work. Also, smiling is contagious, and most people will find it easy to forgive you even if you happen to be a bit demanding on occasions.


Catch people doing things right

People make mistakes and sometimes they can repeat them, sometimes doing irreparable damage. But, have patience and let them grow. When they do things right, find them out and tell them it’s a valuable contribution thay have made. Every interaction with your colleagues in the office is either a deposit or a withdrawal. As important as the Big Picture is, it will mean little if the boss shows little value for his team members’ performance on a regular basis.


Appreciate generously


There is nothing more encouraging than appreciation for the smallest of difference one makes. For eg, when you enter the office after struggling hard with the traffic jam and the office looks clean or different, appreciate the person behind the effort and make him/ her “feel” how important the effort is to the organisation. Send your team emails, create a section where people can give compliments, etc. Positive feedback helps in building long-lasting habits. If you take certain positive behaviour for granted, you will be wasting time in reinforcing them later.


Be ready to say “I am sorry'”


If you erupt in a meeting, criticise a colleague’s work or make ill-timed comments that you regret, how do you bounce back? Apologise immediately to the targeted person and to everyone around. Don’t offer a long justification about the work pressure or a possible misunderstanding like most bosses do. Just say “I should not have reacted that way” and “I am sorry”. This will show that you are professional and reflects positively on your character. It takes years to build up a reputation, and only seconds to destroy it. No matter what, don’t snap or your people will think of you as a ‘reactive boss’.


Help people prepare their goals and create a checklist

Be clear in communicating the desired goals from an individual in a team or the team as a whole. You should know your people, their strengths and opportunity areas. Team your people in a way where everyone learns and compliments each other’s strengths.


A good manager not only coaches an employee to develop a skill but also helps in conditioning it as a behavior. In simple words, become a mentor, ie, a wise and trusted counselor/ teacher/ trainer, who can act as a catalyst for growth and nurture potential and talent. Building teams is not a one-time effort but an everyday process. Good managers involve, engage and inspire their teams on a daily basis.


Stay sharp


Read industry publications, reports and magazines and be aware of market trends. Your knowledge will reflect when you communicate with your team and they will look to you for advice and information. They will also talk positively about you with other members of the team. There is nothing better than third party publicity as it establishes you as a thought leader within your team.

            Deeksha Singh is amanaging partner and Head – Business development for WCH Training Solutions, acorporate training consultancy firm based in New Delhi and can be reached at


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