How to Be a Better Boss

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A good friend of mine recently returned to the 9-to-5 office world after several years of freelancing while her kids were small, and she asked me if I had any advice about being a better boss, since she’s managing a team for the first time in several years.

And with Labor Day fast approaching, and having recently had the pleasure of a delightful lunch with the woman who taught me much of this, now seemed a good time to share what I learned from my first, best boss in my association career.

  • Treat people equitably (which is not the same thing as equally).
  • Praise in public, correct in private.
  • Adapt your style to your team’s personalities to the greatest degree possible.
  • Take an appropriate level of interest in them as people – you’re not their best friend, but they’re also not robots.
  • Be wildly generous in sharing credit.
  • Protect your team. Shit ALWAYS stops with you – it NEVER rolls downhill onto your people.
  • Set clear expectations and manage at the minimum your people need to achieve them. Don’t micromanage.
  • Don’t ask your people to do something you wouldn’t do.
  • Make sure they have authority commensurate with their responsibilities.
  • Find out what they’re interested in learning and seek opportunities for them to learn it.

And if you can’t remember all that, just remember this one thing:

Don’t be a jerk.

Happy last weekend of summer, y’all!

Photo by Pablo Varela on Unsplash



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