Five Things That Make a Good Boss Great

The Internet is full of advice on how to become an effective leader, but perhaps some lessons are best gleaned from practice. Some words of wisdom for you, then, based on real-life struggles of people working with bosses who are, perhaps, not yet the greatest… Read on!


Self-confidence that inspires

This is a tired old cliché, but here’s how truly effective leaders work. They act with supreme confidence in their ability, even if they do not have it. It’s not about blagging your way around the boardroom, but rather about showing your subordinates you’re in the know, you have what it takes and you have experience to support your decisions. It’s also something you can train and adopt, so it is a useful tip for a wannabe head honcho. In any situation involving communicating with your workers, make sure you always speak with certainty. Make decisions ahead of time, do not mull things over while your team awaits it. Express statements or yes-no questions instead of uncertain open queries. Always make them think you know what the endgame is – even if you do not.

Reward results

Once you’re a confident leader who is exuding experience and professionalism, you still have to maintain that aura of strength. It is hard, however, to project that type of attitude in an ever-changing landscape of business. Nearly everything will not really be up to you, but you will need to make it seem that way. And God knows it’s not always a simple matter of showing strength and belief in your own ability. The best CEOs all say that one simple thing is important: you reward more often than you punish, and you motivate people best with tangible rewards. Raises, bonuses, company retreats, even simple department get-togethers are a great way of showing appreciation, but they also work wonders for morale. And that makes employees happier. In a true Pygmalion effect, they become more productive and even more effective.


What a great leader will take away from this tip is the following; reward even people who may, perhaps, still struggle to do some things, especially for even their smaller victories. Understanding potential is only good if you also help it shine – and gleaming with pride from a job well done makes the recipient want to work even harder; the power of recognition is undeniable.


Give more responsibility

One other great tool to motivate and foster greatness in your staff is by delegating responsibility wisely. Good leader will give tasks to capable workforce to make sure things are done. Great leader will give challenges to struggling employees or even inexperienced newcomers. Given greater responsibility and ability to prove yourself may seem daunting to some workers, but may give others the boost in skill and practical knowledge they need to grow as a specialist in their area. Even if they are not yet there, they will become capable of handling bigger jobs in the process. After all, learning by doing has been proven time and again to be most effective if you have a personal responsibility for the task.

This is also how you separate the wheat from the chaff. Employees who are less willing to take up truly challenging tasks, to which they are really unprepared for, will also be unwilling to learn and advance in other aspects of their job. It may be time to show them the door at some point, or at least move them to less creative and potentially critical roles to the company’s core business.


Don’t let them use you

A kind, easy-going and open-minded manager may be a dream-come-true to their team members. However, the reality is that many people will want to take advantage of your kindness. Being suspicious and paranoid will eventually make you a despotic boss people hate. A tyrant can run even the greatest company into the ground faster than any shake-up of the market.

But simply trying to see if what people tell is the reality – that is another thing altogether. Apply the rule of limited trust: trust people to do their job, but check now and then if what they promise is delivered. Fool-me-once is a good gauge by which to measure trustworthiness. If someone stays true to their promise of delivering some report, performing some research or getting important contract work done, you treat them fairly. If they promise to deliver something, but then slack off or don’t do it and lie about it, then you should put your trust in someone else. Exact precise, concrete results from any promise your employees give you and never accept easy excuses. If an employee tells you they couldn’t do something, try to find out the reason behind their inability and verify if it is truly the case. If it is, you can find help or solution. If it is not, you will know that you’re being taken advantage of – a no-no for any aspiring super-boss.


Rally people around you

It is the hardest part of the equation, but one that can really pay dividends. After all that is said and done, great executives don’t just inspire and lead people – they create a collective of like-minded individuals. They make people around want to spend time with them (by actually trying to spend that time when possible, even outside of work), they try to be compassionate, but not naive to the needs of their people, and they act the way they want others to be: professional, confident, trustworthy. If you are the paragon of the virtues you wish to instil in others, the benefits are twofold. First, you will make your company work really well – this is bound to bring a lot of money to all involved. Second, people around you will become what you project, even if they perhaps lack such characteristics as confidence or skill. As with most things in life, practice makes perfect. And practicing becoming the best version of yourself by working with someone who truly believes in you will definitely make you that person. Are you ready to lead by example, then? Don’t worry. We believe in you – so you are!



to glean sth from sth – zebrać coś z czegoś, ustalić coś na podstawie czegoś
words of wisdom – mądre słowa, porady
real-life – prawdziwy, z życia wzięty
struggle – borykanie się, trudności
self-confidence – pewność siebie
tired – oklepany, wyświechtany
cliché – banał, truizm
supreme – doskonały, największy
to blag – ściemniać (pot., UK)
boardroom – tu: poziom kierowniczy, kadra zarządzająca
subordinate – podwładny
to be in the know – wiedzieć, o co chodzi, być wtajemniczonym
to have what it takes – mieć wystarczająco siły/umiejętności
tip – porada
wannabe – niedoszły, aspirujący (do jakiejś roli)
head honcho – gruba ryba, szef
certainty – pewność
ahead of time – zawczasu
to mull things over – rozmyślać nad czymś, zastanawiać się
to express – wyrazić
query – zapytanie
endgame – końcówka, koniec rozgrywki
to exude sth – epatować czymś, emanować
to maintain sth – zachować coś, utrzymać
to project sth – pokazywać coś, prezentować
ever-changing – zmienny
landscape – krajobraz
to be up to sb – zależeć od kogoś
a simple matter of doing sth – wystarczy tylko zrobić coś, coś jest tylko kwestią zrobienia czegoś
CEO (Chief Executive Officer) – dyrektor naczelny
to punish – karać
tangible – namacalny, realny
raise – podwyżka
company retreat – wyjazd firmowy
get-together – impreza, spotkanie (np. grupowe)
to show appreciation – pokazać, że się (coś) docenia
to work wonders for sth – czynić cuda z czymś, doskonale na coś działać
Pygmalion effect – efekt Pigmaliona, efekt samospełniającej się przepowiedni
to take sth away from sth – pojąć coś z czegoś, zaczerpnąć
victory – zwycięstwo
to help sth shine – pomóc czemuś zabłysnąć
to gleam with pride – promienieć z dumy
a job well done – dobrze wykonana robota
recipient – odbiorca
undeniable – niezaprzeczalny, nie do podważenia
to foster sth – wspierać coś, zaszczepiać
greatness – wielkość
staff – personel, pracownicy
to delegate sth – zlecać coś, przekazywać (zadania do wykonania) innym
capable – zdolny
struggling – borykający się z problemami
inexperienced – niedoświadczony
newcomer – nowo przybyły, nowicjusz
to prove oneself – udowodnić swoją wartość, wykazać się
daunting – przerażający, zniechęcający
boost – motywacja, bodziec
to handle sth – zajmować się czymś, poradzić sobie z czymś
learning by doing – nauka w praktyce, nauka praktyczna
time and again – raz po raz, wiele razy
to separate the wheat from the chaff – oddzielić ziarno od plewy
willing – chętny, skłonny
challenging – wymagający
unprepared – niegotowy
to show sb the door – pokazać komuś drzwi
core business – podstawowy cel działalności firmy, podstawowa funkcja/działalność
easy-going – luzacki, wyrozumiały
open-minded – otwarty (np. o osobie)
dream-come-true – spełnienie marzeń (dla kogoś, o kimś/czymś)
to take advantage of sb – wykorzystać kogoś
suspicious – podejrzliwy
paranoid – paranoiczny
tyrant – tyran
to run sth into the ground – zniszczyć coś, doprowadzić do upadku czegoś
shake-up – przetasowanie, odmiana sytuacji (gdzieś)
limited trust – ograniczone zaufanie
now and then – raz po raz
fool-me-once – tu: zasada jednokrotnego zawodu, zasada wiary do pierwszego nadużycia
gauge – miernik, pomiar
trustworthiness – bycie osobą godną zaufania
to stay true to sth – pozostać czemuś wiernym
to perform research – przeprowadzić badania
fairly – uczciwie
to slack off – obijać się, pracować w pół gwizdka
to exact sth – wymagać czegoś
excuse – wymówka
inability – niezdolność
to verify – sprawdzić
no-no – absolutnie nie, coś nie do przyjęcia
aspiring – ambitny, początkujący
to rally sb around you – zgromadź ludzi dokoła siebie, zagrzej ludzi wokół do działania
equation – równanie
to pay dividends – opłacić się
after all is said and done… – w ostatecznym rozrachunku
executive – dyrektor, menadżer wyższego szczebla
like-minded – myślący podobnie
compassionate – współczujący, wyrozumiały
naive – naiwny
paragon – wzór, wcielenie
virtue – cnota, pozytywna cecha
to instil sth in sb – wpoić coś komuś (UK)
twofold – dwojaki
bound to do sth – na pewno coś zrobić
characteristic – cecha
practice makes perfect – praktyka czyni mistrza

by Prochor Aniszczuk

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