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How to be a Boss you would want to Work for

Getting one of those “Best Boss Ever” mugs from your employees is not easy. It is like a trophy you only obtain once you truly achieve that status. “A poll of over one million workers in the US by Gallup found that leaving a bad manager was the number one reason why workers quit, with 75% of those who left voluntarily doing so because of their boss and not the job itself,” writes Andrew Greenwood of Workstars in an article called “Why employees quit: 11 evidence-based reasons.”   This can’t be much different in the South African workplaces.

To be a good manager means to be someone who your employees will respect and vice versa. You need to create trust and loyalty in your team.  Jim Rohn said: “The challenge of leadership is to be strong, but not rude; be kind, but not weak; be bold, but not bully; be thoughtful, but not lazy; be humble, but not timid; be proud, but not arrogant; have humour but without folly.” 

7 Tips on how to be a Great Manager:

As a boss and manager, you also want to succeed at your own job, and a huge part of it is to become a leader your employees don’t want to leave. Followers that will stand by you and follow you no matter what.

1.     Be Authentic and Honest

There is a lot of corruption and dishonesty especially among the higher-ranking managers in the business world. The foundation of a good relationship is trust. Employees want to know that they can trust their superiors. Good managers create trust by staying true to themselves, and by remaining honest. When managing your team remember the two rules: Rule number one is not to lie, and rule number two is not to make promises you can’t keep. It can be difficult, especially if you as a superior is not allowed to discuss confidential information, or if you don’t want rumours to spread. You don’t always have to discuss everything, just don’t lie and promise something you can’t guarantee. 

2.     Listen

A lot of the time, managers don’t connect with their employees because of a lack of listening when communicating. Employees who feel “unheard”, feel unappreciated and insignificant. Practice active listening with each individual employee. Give your employees your full attention and make eye contact when they talk to you. Get to the root of the problem by putting yourself in their shoes, asking the right questions and truly taking in what each one is saying.  Come up with suitable solutions together.

3.     Communicate your expectations clearly

What you expect from each employee should be communicated clearly and assertively. Employees want to know exactly where they stand, what is expected from them, by when and what is the desired outcome or goal. It can be very frustrating if you work all day, not knowing what you are supposed to achieve. Don’t be afraid to follow up on your verbal communications with written confirmation. This is not overkill, this is a document your employee can refer to when they are unsure. 

4.     Develop your team

Employees want to know that they are worthy and appreciated. If you develop their skills, they feel like you care about their personal growth and not just the company’s bottom line. Invest in training programmes for your employees to further develop their skills.  Do regular skills training sessions, motivation talks, and team buildings to develop a family culture among your employees. 

5.     Give guidance and mentorship

There is a reason why you are the manager. Your employees are looking to you for your guidance and experience. They watch how you deal with and handle issues. They come to you with problems, and employees who want to grow and be successful want to learn as much from you as possible. Be their mentor. Guide them and keep their eyes fixed on the goal. 

6.     Find out what works for who

Because people are all diverse, different things motivate different people. Find out what each of your employees need to thrive in their work. This shows real interest and commitment towards the team members. 

7.     Give enough praise publicly and regular feedback privately

Give regular praise where and when it is due both privately and publicly. This will show appreciation and that you value and see what they do. But when you need to reprimand or point out mistakes, do it respectfully and privately so as not to embarrass your employee. 


Remember that being the best boss does not mean you should be your employees’ best buddy. Don’t get too involved with their personal lives and be careful not to get the lines blurred. You are not their party buddy, or romantic partner, financial advisor, their bank, or counsellor. You are the boss, their leader and in charge of taking the business from strength to strength. Keep your eye on the goal, encourage and motivate them to do the same.