How to Be a Great Boss – Not a Bully

Early in my career, a boss really intimidated me. He was so unpredictable and at times a bully. Each day, I would call his administrative assistant to ask about his daily mood. We had a code. I’d ask, “How’s the weather today?” and she’d say “It’s stormy,” or “It’s clear but might turn cloudy.” During a “severe weather alert” I’d do my best to stay out of his way.

If you work for a boss like this, here are a few tips for working with a bully boss.

Negative workplace behavior that was once commonplace now has legal protections to prevent it. While more attention is given to inclusion and diversity, a quick look at the news reveals bias and harassment still exist.

Based on the research for my book, The Manager’s High Performance Handbook, we uncovered the top three actions that a boss/leader can take to help employees produce better results:

  1. Provide regular and candid feedback

  2. Hold others accountable to their commitments

  3. Acknowledge and give credit for accomplishments

If you’d like to read the full research report, download it here.

At work and in our communities some people are placed in charge while others naturally rise to a position of leadership. Whether you lead a team, a project, a family, or a volunteer effort, model the best leader you know. 

In all cases great bosses share the following characteristics: 

  • Credibility. To be credible know your stuff and honor confidences. Great leaders learn how to tame their ego and stay in control of their emotions. They help people, including their own bosses, avoid embarrassment. They acknowledge others and give proper recognition for accomplishments.

  • Professionalism. Great bosses follow company rules and are loyal to their employer and employees. They respect others’ time, personal space and privacy. These true professionals admit when they are wrong and spend more time solving problems than complaining about them.

  • Mindfulness. Great bosses know it’s up to them to create a positive presence. They understand company history as well as goals and trends. They build alliances with people, especially decision makers. Leaders honor their word and also hold people accountable to their commitments.

  • Nondiscriminatory. Great leaders are respectful and value others’ well-being. They remove obstacles to performance, including harassment and discrimination. By calling immediate attention to safety violations and not delaying investigation, they keep their employees safe and sound.

  • Over-communication. Great leaders are responsive and available. They filter down appropriate information to help everyone better understand the big picture. People aren’t surprised by performance reviews. Great bosses give continual feedback to motivate and help employees self-correct. 

Great leaders know that people who are respected and recognized work harder and achieve higher performance.  

 Journey On!

About Linda: A recognized authority on negotiations, workplace issues and strategic communication, Linda Swindling, JD, CSP is an author, media expert, a “recovering” employment attorney, and a professional speaker.  Contact us to book Linda to speak at your event.