What Good Bosses Do


With a title like “What Good Bosses Do”, I’m immediately positioned to create a comprehensive list of all the management and leadership actions of a good boss. I’m not going to do that. The list would be full of hackneyed actions that offer little value to you. Instead, the list will be grounded in the belief that good bosses believe it’s part of their responsibilities to create workplace optimism. This sets the behavior in a specific context, guiding good bosses behaviors with purpose and intention. Workplace optimism is a dominate employee belief in the culture that great work is possible. That their ideas actually see the light of day. Going a step further, employees know the impact of their hard work on those who benefit from it. It’s optimism because the outlook on the workplace is favorable. Employees’ personal beliefs of their skills are positive and rooted in the belief that they matter. Organizations are hungry for this type of employee. You only need to review the latest research to know about the dismal mood suffocating the workplace.

Workplace optimism is a dominate employee belief in the culture that great work is possible.

So, what do good bosses do to create workplace optimism? Here’s a list of the most critical actions a manager can take.

Know the Whole-Employee

The relationship between managers and employees is broken. It’s built on a power-structure that alienates and divides managers from employees and vice-versa. Ask yourself, what are your employees’ personal goals outside of work? What are their career aspirations? Have you matched your employees strengths to their work? What are their hobbies? Knowing the whole-employee requires you to know each employees personal and professional worlds and how the two affect one another.

Have you matched your employees strengths to their work?

Connect. Cooperate. Collaborate

Good bosses connect employees to enable them to do great work together. They create a work environment where employees and managers continuously review goals and organizational and team purpose together to ensure they are working towards the same outcomes. They collaborate to help identify best solutions and uncover employees’ needs.

Purpose-Driven Decision Making

Meaningful work is a vital characteristic of workplace optimism. Meaningful work leverages employees’ strengths – they light up when they do their work. It’s work that is connected to the team and organization’s purpose. The red thread that connects these elements is purpose-driven decision making. The decision making process around work, strategies, even ideas must include this simple question: “How does this support our purpose?” The answer determines the priority and next steps.

Good bosses connect employees to enable them to do great work together.

Create a Positive Work Experience

Give employees a voice in how they experience work. Invite them to help improve the recruiting and orientation-practices. Let employees help architect development practices. Require managers to meet continuing-education like requirements in their leadership and management development. A positive employee work experience is born from the belief that employees come first, before profit and before customers. Is this comprehensive? Absolutely not. I’d like for you to share what good bosses do in the comments section.

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Image credit- alphaspirit / 123RF Stock Photo copy

Change Leader | Speaker | Writer Co-founder and CEO of Switch and Shift. Passionately explores the space where business & humanity intersect. Promoter of workplace optimism. Believes work can be a source of joy. Top ranked leadership blogger by Huffington Post. The Optimistic Workplace (AMACOM) out 2015

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