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Five Tips to Be a Great Boss

Achieving success for a team or organization is seldom the responsibility of a single person. A true leader inspires employees to be their best. Here’s how.

1. Communicate clearly

It is vital to be clear about your expectations from the outset. “A great boss sits down with a new employee right from the beginning and identifies priorities,”’s Melanie Joy Douglas writes in “What Makes a Great Boss?” “She discusses the performance review, and how she defines ‘excellent performance.’ She holds discussions regularly in regards to expectations from that point on.”

And to promote personal accountability, “provide clear communication and buy-in as to the culture, vision and goals for the company,” writes’s Kevin Daum in “10 Things Really Amazing Bosses Do.”

2. Empower your people

“Early in Alisha Chocha’s marketing career, her boss asked her to redesign the monthly email newsletter. She told her to figure it out and come to her if she got stuck,” Stav Ziv writes in The Muse article “11 Lessons From Great Bosses That You Can Use Right Now.” Though very concerned to receive an assignment so vague, Chocha did her research and presented a very successful template that increased both clicks and sales. “If she told me how to do it, I would rely on her for every assignment, expecting a 1-2-3 step guide. She was training me to be independent, self-motivated and take pride in my work,” Chocha told Ziv.

Trusting your employees and building their trust in you pays off. “Bosses who believe employees are capable and responsible encourage autonomy while also creating a strong sense of community throughout the organization,” Peter Economy writes in’s “Want to Be a Great Boss? Do These 7 Things Every Day.” “To establish trust, create a safe, positive working environment with open, honest, two-way communication. Trust that your employees will meet or exceed organizational goals when working in a productive, safe and supportive environment.”

3. Take time to explain

A focus on the why can help an employee prioritize and stay motivated. “When I was handed a project, [my boss] always did her best to explain the why behind it — this made me feel like the work I was doing was valuable, whether for my personal growth or for our team,” Alyse Kalish said in The Muse article “11 Lessons From Great Bosses That You Can Use Right Now.” “When I launched a project or suggested an idea, she encouraged me to think about why it would be worth pursuing, what goal it was tied to and why it would help our team.”

4. Help your employees advance

Encouraging employee growth and development, whether through classes or industry conferences, cultivates loyalty and fosters retention. “Many bosses are so busy trying to get the job done, they do not take the time to engage employees around their professional growth and goals,” Tammy Gooler Loeb, a Boston-based career and executive coach, told in “How to Be a Great Boss.” “If they were to be more supportive of their employees’ growth and development, they would have a much better chance at retaining those employees.”

You might also consider integrating learning and development into every job description so that personal growth is required and rewarded. “Companies that do this thrive thanks to new leaders rising from the inside,” writes’s Daum. “They make sure the company apportions time and dollars toward personal growth so that everyone shares reasonable expectations of commitment and success.”

5. Make it a team effort

Create a culture of “constant interaction and high performance within the team so they succeed or fail together, creating tight bonds of loyalty to the company and each other,” writes’s Daum. “Successes are met with equal high praise and rewards, while failures are met with encouraging acceptance and postmortem learning discussions yielding next-step improvements.”

By making your employees feel they are a part of something special, you can involve them directly in the success of the organization. “Partner with your employees and take on challenges as a team. Enlist your employees’ input to identify blocking issues, focus attention on possible solutions and strive to meet and exceed expectations,” writes Economy in’s “Want to Be a Great Boss? Do These 7 Things Every Day.” “Create and cultivate a sense of camaraderie, where people feel it is fun to come to work, because it is a positive and productive environment and they feel they are part of an efficient, skilled and highly successful community.” Just remember, “good bosses are team leaders, not dictators,” writes’s Kate Ashford in “How to Be a Great Boss.” “Try to bring that spirit of inclusion and shared effort, and your employees will want to be part of your team—earning more wins for the boss they’re proud to support.

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