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Ways to Be the Boss People Love to Work For

You've probably heard it said that employees don't leave companies — they leave bad managers. Every working adult probably has at least one story of a boss who made the office culture uncomfortable at best and toxic at worst.

The people who work for you can be your company's biggest asset if you create a workplace in which they can thrive. Being a better boss and a more effective manager is a key component of earning your employees' trust, confidence and allegiance.

See how many of the following suggestions you can implement to create a business environment people are excited to be a part of and couldn't imagine leaving.

Woman shaking hands with her boss in meeting.

1. Raise your EQ (Emotional Intelligence).

A core component of managing others successfully involves skillfully dealing with their emotions. Managing your own emotions effectively is an important place to start. Strong leaders have high EQs and typically possess these five qualities:

  • Self-awareness
  • Self-regulation
  • Motivation
  • Empathy
  • People skills

If you feel a bit weak in any of these areas, a wide variety of online courses and books on the subject are available to help you improve.

2. Lead by example when faced with challenges.

How you bring yourself to work every day is probably more important than you realize when it comes to influencing your employees, according to FreshDirect's CEO and co-founder, Jason Ackerman. The attitude and confidence you portray, especially in the tough times when things aren't going according to plan, have a meaningful impact on your team, who is watching you for clues about how they should respond. When things start to unravel:

  • Stay cool under pressure.
  • Be a strong decision-maker.
  • Follow through with your recovery plan.

3. Don't micromanage.

Supervisors who micromanage diminish employee performance while communicating a lack of trust in their workers' skills and abilities. A good boss assigns tasks and gives employees the freedom to experiment, explore new ideas and proceed as they feel led. Make it clear that you're always available should they need support, but don't keep checking in on the progress.

4. Communicate clearly.

Speaking in a direct, concise manner helps avoid confusion and mixed messages. It also fosters trust. You want the people who work for you to know that because you are deliberate about what you say and how you express yourself, they can always count on you for honesty and transparency.

5. Be fair and impartial.

Playing favorites with your employees can do serious damage to office morale. This is especially important to keep in mind when you're mediating workplace conflicts. Your role as a leader is to display empathy toward all parties involved, be an active listener and validate feelings, identify the core problem and come up with a mutually beneficial solution that empowers everyone on the team.

6. Praise in public.

Acknowledging a victory, large or small, with public praise is a wonderful way to motivate your employees. Most people love to be recognized and doing so in front of their coworkers inspires everyone to up their game. You can create an official company recognition program to bring some gratification to the workplace, but a spontaneous group email that celebrates a win is also a nice way to recognize your high performers.

7. Deliver honest and timely negative feedback.

Good employees welcome feedback so they can improve and grow in their position. Great bosses know how to provide honest input that highlights areas of weakness while ensuring the employee feels supported and respected.

8. Support career aspirations.

Another great way to motivate employees while earning their loyalty is to help them advance and develop professionally. This benefits your business, since the more knowledge and expertise they have, the bigger the contribution they can make to your goals.

Spend some time discussing where your workers would like to go professionally, and then help them get there. You might offer additional job training, implement a tuition-reimbursement program or cover the costs associated with attending seminars, conferences and workshops.

9. Share a laugh with your employees.

While it's important to be mindful of proper joking and humor in the workplace, let your staff see your lighter side. Sharing a laugh in the office can help relieve stress, enhance engagement, inspire creativity and collaboration, and boost productivity.

10. Take an interest in your employees' personal lives.

Care enough about the people who work for you to occasionally ask about their kids, pets, parents and whatever else you know is important to them when they're off the clock. Let them know you appreciate the many other obligations they have in life, which demonstrates that you care for them as a person first, employee second.

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