Traits of a great boss

January 06, 2014 | 14:35
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The best managers have a fundamentally different understanding of workplace, company, and team dynamics. See what they get right.

Photo: Hung Nguyen

1. Business is an ecosystem, not a battlefield

Average bosses see business as a conflict between companies, departments and groups. They build huge armies of troops to order about, demonise competitors as enemies, and treat customers as territory to be conquered.

Extraordinary bosses see business as a symbiosis where the most diverse firm is most likely to survive and thrive. They naturally create teams that adapt easily to new markets and can quickly form partnerships with other companies, customers and even competitors.

2. My employees are my peers, not my children

Average bosses see employees as inferior, immature beings who simply can’t be trusted if not overseen by a patriarchal management. Employees take their cues from this attitude, expend energy on looking busy and covering their behinds.

Extraordinary bosses treat every employee as if he or she were the most important person in the firm. Excellence is expected everywhere, from the loading dock to the boardroom. As a result, employees at all levels take charge of their own destinies.

3. Motivation comes from vision, not from fear

Average bosses see fear – of getting fired, of ridicule, of loss of privilege – as a crucial way to motivate people. As a result, employees and managers alike become paralysed and unable to make risky decisions.

Extraordinary bosses inspire people to see a better future and how they’ll be a part of it. As a result, employees work harder because they believe in the organisation’s goals, truly enjoy what they’re doing and (of course) know they’ll share in the rewards.

4. Change equals growth, not pain

Average bosses see change as both complicated and threatening, something to be endured only when a firm is in desperate shape. They subconsciously torpedo change until it’s too late. Extraordinary bosses see change as an inevitable part of life. While they don’t value change for its own sake, they know that success is only possible if employees and organisation embrace new ideas and new ways of doing business.

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