We have all had our share of bosses, managers, supervisors, and shift leaders.  No matter what title or name they go by, they can be either exceptional or awful, and it all depends on what kind of boss they choose to be.  Many have good intentions, but still come off as a terrible boss.  Chances are you are a boss, or have a boss, and very well may supervise someone at some time in the course of your career.  Do you think you are a good boss?  If given the choice, do you think your previous or current staff would work for you again?

Bosses are important.  A good boss increases productivity, improves morale, and even reduces your risk of heart attack by lowering stress.  These are all benefits that come from someone approaching their employees with the right mindset.  If you approach a situation with the right mentality, you can have a profoundly positive impact on your staff and their work.  If you go in with the wrong mindset, perhaps focusing on your own benefit and power, then you will only receive backlash and create a negative environment.

What do good bosses do that bad ones don’t?

  • Take Control – Whether it is your department, your processes, or your inbox, take control of it.  You are the boss, make it your responsibility that it gets done correctly.  That doesn’t mean you can’t delegate work (as you should), but you should still feel responsible for the quality of the work.
  • Learn, Learn, Learn – Let’s face it, sometimes managers aren’t always the most knowledgeable people in the field they are managing.  Perhaps they are great at project management with small teams, so they are placed in IT, but aren’t all that experienced with computers.  If this is you, strive to learn more about your field.  Take courses, learn from your staff, and sit in on trainings.  You should be the most knowledgeable person in the room, even if you have to work for it.
  • Link, Sync, and Tink(er) – Part of being a boss is knowing who’s who, what wheels to grease when you need something done, and who to go to when you have a problem.  Make good connections with other managers from other departments, because you never know when you will need a favor.  Keep your staff up to date on the issues in other departments like staff shortages or deadlines, so that they can plan accordingly.  You may have to work the system a little to get people on your side, but that’s part of the job.
  • Be the First to Claim, Not to Blame – When someone comes in accusing your department or employees of poor quality work, obviously there are steps you should take to gather information and investigate.  However you should take responsibility as the head of the department, and then deal with the issue internally, not say “Oh yeah that was Jimmy, he is a total screw up. He is in the back if you want to yell at him.”