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Five Ways to Become a Better Boss


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Just today I read a statement by Harold S. Geneen that really got me thinking. He says that “leadership is practiced not so much in words as in attitude and in actions.” A woman I know who was assigned to a key administrative position, had the habit of drowning herself in a sea of fancy words, but was unable to earn the respect of her staff. Her eloquence was impressive, though. The problem was that nobody was buying it. Based on this declaration by Mr. Geneen, people still tend to pay more attention to what you do versus what you say. So that old adage: “ actions speak louder than words” is still valid today.

If you’re in a position of leadership, always remember that your team, your personnel, and the people you work with are constantly watching you; be sure to put on a good show!

1. Practice what you preach. Although being a boss might come with a few props, I strongly believe that certain values such as punctuality should be non-negotiable. One of the biggest mistakes you can make is to demand that your personnel show up on time, while you strut in 15 minutes late, holding a cup of coffee. While I worked as the Academic Coordinator at a high-status private school, I made sure to be on the job at least 30 minutes before the required time. It gave me opportunity to greet the early birds and engage in informal chitchat before the stressful environment set in. This same rule applies to many other situations.

2. Be willing to listen. Most people expect their leader to be insightful, bursting with good advice, and a great listener. A friend of mine in an administrative position once commented how difficult it was for her to get her work done sometimes because her staff was constantly dropping in to share their problems. Although in her case she was dealing with an unusually needy group, it’s important to develop such a rapport with your personnel that they feel at home revealing their vulnerable side to you.

3. Don’t play favorites. It’s normal to be drawn to certain people more than to others. But as a leader you can’t run the risk of showing a preference for a certain person. As soon as your workers detect that you value one employee above another, a very distasteful atmosphere can erupt. Learn to keep your opinions to yourself.

4. Be kind. When people make mistakes, by all means they should be corrected. You do employees a great disservice by allowing them to believe that they’re performing well when they’re not. However, the way in which the person is corrected determines whether he or she will be inspired to work harder and to become more productive, or not. We should never disrespect people, it doesn’t matter what their position is in the company.

5. Don’t hold grudges. It’s very likely that one day you’ll walk into a room and find that you’re the butt of somebody’s joke. Learn to laugh it off. Don’t take things personally. Your reaction actually determines whether the offensive comments will proliferate or die.

About the Author

Dinorah Blackman-Williams' book can be previewd and purchased at

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Article Published/Sorted/Amended on Scopulus 2006-08-26 13:06:13 in Personal Articles

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