What It Means To Be Your Own Boss

If you notice your boss making herself scarce when you swing by her office to ask a question or constantly postponing scheduled check-ins or reviews, it may be your boss not-so-subtly indicating. When you are your own boss, you eliminate the old-fashioned need to warm a chair for specific hours. You become responsible for your output, not your hours (unless, of course, you are a service business with clients—that’s in the cons, below).

Not everyone knows how to be a great boss. But most can tell you a story about enduring a bad one.

I’ve heard horror stories of bosses berating employees in front of other people, screaming at workers, or throwing temper tantrums.

This kind of behavior affects productivity (at least when the boss isn’t looking) and plays havoc on employee morale.

What It Means To Be Your Own Boss

When there is low morale, employees disengage – which contributes to undue stress. Employees who are forced to deal with a bad boss view the culture as “we” versus “them”.

Not only do these hostile environments lower worker productivity, but they are also very difficult to manage.

We spend a third of our lives with our employees and co-workers so why not try to create an environment that encourages fun and supports productivity.

Not everyone knows how to be the boss but successful managers have figured out what it takes to encourage and motivate employees. So what makes a great boss?

10 Qualities of a Great Boss

1. Communicates Clear Vision

Employees go to work and want to make a difference and do a good job.

Bosses who communicate a clear vision for the organization help to engage employees by making them understand why they do what they do.

This gets employees involved and interested in helping the organization achieve its objectives.

2. Connects Vision to Daily Tasks

Great bosses demonstrate how employee tasks support what the organization is trying to achieve.

This is done by showing a clear line connection between what the employee does on a day-to-day basis and how it supports the mission of the organization.

This is achieved by writing smart goals that support organizational goals that are ultimately tied to business strategy.

3. Sets Clear Performance Expectations


Research suggests that employees experience increased stress levels when they don’t have a good understanding of what is expected of them.

Set clear performance expectations by providing the employee with a very specific job description that lays out all expected tasks that include employee goals.

The employee’s supervisor should discuss and clarify these expectations through a one-on-one conversation.

As priorities change, continue to communicate updated expectations to provide the employee with an ongoing understanding of their role and job responsibilities.

4. Provides Consistent Feedback and Coaching

Employees need constant feedback on how well they are meeting expectations.

Help them understand when they are doing a good job and communicate when they are not meeting requirements.

What It Means To Be Your Own Boss

This can be achieved by coaching employees on a regular basis.

If you see something that they are doing right, mention it. If you see something that needs to change mention it as soon as you are aware.

Often employees do not even realize when they are not meeting requirements. It is the manager’s responsibility to coach and develop them.

The boss has the responsibility of telling them when they are not adhering to customer service standards.

For example, if a manager hears employees being rude to a customer on the phone, they need to point it out to them and coach them in a better way to communicate with customers.

If this doesn’t happen, the customer experience is affected and the employee may not even be aware that their mannerism is inappropriate.

5. Cares About the Employee as a Person

Employees want to feel like they are cared about on a personal level.

A great boss will take the time to ask about an employee’s personal life and what they do when they are not at work.

Employees feel valued when the boss shows an interest in their hobbies, family or other interests.

If you want to see an employee light up, just ask them about their kids!

6. Shares Personal Experiences

Bosses who share personal experiences demonstrate their vulnerabilities and helps employees appreciate the human side of the manager.

When a supervisor shares real-life struggles and how they process the issues of life, it not only humanizes their relationship but can also serve as a life mentor for employees.

For example, if a boss shares a conflict they have with a neighbor, and how they resolved the conflict, it provides an additional coaching opportunity.

It also gives the employee a lens into the personal life of their boss.

7. Makes Work Fun

I had a boss tell me once that “if you’re not having fun at work, you’re in the wrong job.”

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At the time I didn’t really understand what he meant but it makes so much sense to me now.

Whether you are working a line in a factory, greeting guests at the reception area, or flipping hamburgers, every work environment has the opportunity to be a fun and productive place to work.

Incorporating fun activities, events, and organized play-time for employees gives them something to look forward to.

Things as simple as blue jean Friday or a lunchtime video game challenge can not only be fun – but also a great team-building exercise.

8. Fosters Team Development

Diverse personalities and varying frames-of-references can make team interactions difficult.

Great bosses have good team leader skills that foster team development.

A great boss knows how to gather the troops and get them all headed, in unity, in the same direction.

9. Values Employee Perspectives

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Employees do the work of the organization and great bosses care about what employees think and proactively solicits employee feedback.

They understand that employees often have the answers to many of the operational problems.

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And when asked, employees feel valued for being able to contribute their thoughts and opinions.

10. Rewards Good Performance

Employees go to work with the intention of doing a good job and should be rewarded for meeting and exceeding job requirements.

When employees have a good understanding of what is expected of them, given the tools and training to do their job and are rewarded for doing a good job they become engaged with the organization and committed to helping it achieve its objectives.

Employees go to work and want to do a good job but it is the boss that sometimes gets in the way of them performing well. W

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hen bosses communicate where the organization is going, explains how what the employee does contributes to what they are trying to accomplish, and allows employees to participate in organizational problem-solving efforts, they create an environment that employees are proud of and enjoy working in.

So what kind of boss are you?