How to be a good boss? You might come across loads of golden advice, though becoming one is, in fact, a journey that involves continuous growth and self-improvement. Being a fit manager, where FIT stands for Fair, Inspirational, and Trustworthy, is about holding a position of authority and leading with integrity and empathy. Considering the backdrop of the ‘Great Resignation,’ Gallup asked the respondents whether they would contemplate leaving their jobs due to a poor manager. 82% of all participants affirmed that they would consider quitting due to poor managerial experience.1 The numbers are self-explanatory, though the path to becoming a better boss requires some guidance. Hence, we have explored five approaches to help you evolve from a good manager to a great one. Whether aspiring to become a boss or seeking ways to enhance your leadership skills, these insights will provide valuable guidance. 

What does it mean to be a good leader? 

A great boss possesses a unique blend of leadership, empathy, and effective communication. They lead by example, inspire their team, and set clear goals. Their fairness and consistency build trust, while their recognition of achievements boosts morale. Great bosses invest in employee growth, encourage problem-solving, and maintain transparency. They adapt to change, resolve conflicts, and manage time efficiently. Their positive attitude and accessibility create a welcoming atmosphere and team growth. Ethical behavior and teamwork run in their DNA. In essence, great bosses foster a positive work environment where their team feels valued, motivated, and committed to achieving success, benefiting both the team and the organization. Let’s look into the five approaches that can bring you closer to becoming a leader you’d like to follow yourself. 

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1. Lead by example

A fundamental trait of a great boss is the unwavering ability to lead by example. Your role as a leader places you in a position of influence, and it’s crucial to recognize that your team looks up to you for guidance. Demonstrating the qualities and work ethic you expect from your team sets the standard and inspires a collective sense of purpose and motivation. Leading by example goes beyond mere words; it’s about actions that speak louder. First and foremost, it involves a wholehearted dedication to your work. Your commitment to your tasks, projects, and responsibilities should be evident in every action you take. 

Witnessing your unwavering dedication fosters a sense of purpose and passion in your team, inspiring them to invest their best efforts into their work. Being punctual demonstrates your respect for your team’s time and sets the expectation of reliability within the workplace. When your team sees you arrive on time for meetings, adhere to deadlines, and respect schedules, they are more likely to follow suit, creating a culture of punctuality and efficiency. Strive for continuous improvement in everything you do, and your team will see that you encourage growth and actively participate in it. Share your successes and setbacks, emphasizing the importance of learning and evolving. This openness to growth will inspire your team to adopt a similar mindset, leading to a culture of continuous improvement where everyone seeks opportunities to enhance their skills and contribute to the team’s success.

2. Foster open communication

Fostering open communication is an unwavering cornerstone of effective leadership. The ability to communicate openly and honestly with your team is not just a leadership skill; it’s the glue that binds individuals into a cohesive, motivated, and successful collective. According to a global Gallup survey conducted across 550 organizations with the participation of 2.2 million employees, merely 50 percent of the workforce expressed a strong agreement in their understanding of their job expectations.2 The data clearly shows how open communication is the key to a more engaged and motivated team. When team members know that their voices matter and their ideas can shape the organization’s direction, they become personally invested in the team’s success. This sense of ownership increases enthusiasm, job satisfaction, and a greater sense of purpose among team members.

Encourage your team to speak up and actively listen to what they have to say; these are integral components of this process. When team members feel heard and valued, trust and transparency are fostered. Moreover, actively seeking and appreciating their feedback demonstrates a genuine commitment to their growth and well-being. Address their concerns promptly and work collaboratively to find solutions. In doing so, you build stronger bonds with your team and empower them to take ownership of their roles and contribute to the organization’s success. Open communication channels do more than just facilitate conversations; they catalyze effective problem-solving. When team members feel comfortable sharing their challenges and roadblocks, it becomes easier to identify issues and work collectively to overcome them. 

3. Invest in employee growth

As a leader, one of the most significant investments you can make in your team and your organization’s future is prioritizing the professional development of your team members. A critical aspect of investing in employee growth is supporting your team members in setting and achieving career goals. Encourage them to think about their long-term aspirations and how their current role can align with them. By facilitating these conversations, you help your team members visualize their career paths and showcase your commitment to their individual success. Offering opportunities for skill enhancement is another crucial component of investing in your team’s growth. Provide access to training programs, workshops, and resources that allow them to acquire or refine new skills. Encourage cross-training and skill-sharing within the team, creating a continuous learning and improvement culture.

Furthermore, offering constructive feedback is essential in the process of employee development. Regularly assess their performance, acknowledge their achievements, and provide guidance on areas that need improvement. Constructive feedback serves as a compass for improvement and growth, helping employees understand their strengths and areas for development. Gallup states, “Best-in-class managers use ongoing conversations to deliver energizing feedback that celebrates successes and calibrates performance.” Data show that “when employees strongly agree they received “meaningful feedback” in the past week, they are almost four times more likely than other employees to be engaged.”3

4. Be fair and consistent

In leadership, fairness and consistency are two pillars upon which trust, respect, and effective teamwork are built. To be an exceptional leader, it is crucial to embrace these principles wholeheartedly, as they not only set the tone for your leadership style but also significantly impact the dynamics of your team. Fairness, in particular, plays a pivotal role in earning the trust and respect of your team members. It entails treating everyone equitably, regardless of their position within the organization. Fairness means that each team member is evaluated and rewarded based on merit and contributions rather than personal biases or favoritism. 

Consistency, on the other hand, provides the stability and reliability that your team needs to thrive. Consistency means that your actions and decisions are predictable and align with your values and principles. When your team knows what to expect from you, it creates a sense of security and clarity. Moreover, understanding and empathizing with your team’s challenges is crucial. Compassion and empathy are not signs of weakness but rather powerful tools for building trust and loyalty. When you take the time to listen to your team members, understand their concerns, and offer support when needed, you create a nurturing and inclusive work environment. 

5. Recognize and celebrate achievements

In the intricate tapestry of effective leadership, one of the most vibrant threads is recognizing and celebrating achievements within your team. This simple yet powerful gesture goes far beyond mere acknowledgment; it catalyzes a culture of excellence, motivation, and camaraderie. First and foremost, acknowledging your team member’s hard work and accomplishments is a testament to your leadership’s genuine appreciation. It’s saying, “I see your efforts, and they matter.” This recognition, whether for small, incremental wins or monumental milestones, holds immense value in affirming the significance of each team member’s contribution. 

Celebrating achievements, big or small, is not just about boosting individual spirits; it’s about nurturing a positive work environment. Celebrating successes collectively reinforces the idea that the team is working collaboratively towards shared goals. Moreover, the act of celebration has a ripple effect on team motivation. When team members see their peers being recognized and celebrated for their hard work, it sets a positive precedent. It encourages others to strive for excellence, knowing their contributions will be acknowledged and valued. Celebrating achievements need not be extravagant; it can take various forms, from a simple thank-you note or a verbal commendation to team lunches or awards ceremonies. What matters most is the sincerity and frequency of these recognitions.

The road to excellence: becoming a FIT manager and a better leader

Embarking on the path to becoming a FIT manager is a journey that demands unwavering dedication, self-awareness, and an unshakeable commitment to perpetual improvement. It’s a quest that holds the potential to transform you into a better boss and leader – someone who not only guides but inspires and empowers their team to reach greater heights. At its core, the journey to becoming a better boss is underpinned by a few fundamental principles: leading by example, fostering open communication, investing in employee growth, being fair and consistent, recognizing achievements, and leading with empathy. Remember, the journey to becoming a great boss is ongoing and adaptable. Embrace these principles, tailor them to your unique leadership style, and never stop learning and evolving. Your commitment to being a FIT manager will benefit your team’s growth and contribute significantly to your own personal and professional development, ultimately leading to a flourishing, motivated, and high-performing team, all working together towards achieving shared goals and driving success in your organization.

  1.  Harter, Jim, Ph.D. Chief Scientist, Workplace Management and Wellbeing for Gallup’s workplace management practice ↩︎
  2.  Horrible Bosses: Are American Workers Quitting Their Jobs Or Quitting Their Managers? ( ↩︎
  3. How Fast Feedback Fuels Performance, By Denise McLain and Bailey Nelson ↩︎