You Can’t be the Perfect Boss- 10 Cool Tricks to Get Better

I was never the perfect boss and I don’t know anyone who is.

Robert Locke
Oct 21 · 5 min read
Photo by Jealous Weekends on Unsplash

“Every day was filled with surprises. Her new boss was an undead automaton from hell, true, but no job was perfect.”
― Daniel Suarez, Daemon

But perfect bosses are few and far between. How many times do you hear your coworkers talk about their boss negatively? Lots of times.

One survey tells us that over 77% of older employees are less tolerant of their boss’s poor management skills while younger workers take a more balanced view.

Whether you are a supervisor, team leader, manager or even have reached the dizzy heights of a CEO, here are 10 cool ways you can improve.

1. Stop micromanaging

“Macromanage, Not Micromanage”
― Miles Anthony Smith, Why Leadership Sucks

Basically, I found that when I micromanaged, I felt I was on top of everything, The harsh reality was that I was robbing my staff of their ability to make decisions, collaborate as a team and above all, I was stealing their motivation.

The best way I found was to give constructive feedback and also realign expectations as necessary. In this way, I was not destroying trust. I made sure I was in the loop so that I checked progress on such apps as Asana, Bitrix24, or Trello.

We all know the next step down the ladder after micromanagement is bullying and that should never happen.

2. Take skills seriously

The secret here is matching your staff’s skills with their tasks. Taking time out to find what they excel at and what they would like to do can pay off handsome dividends.

If you do not know about your employees’ skills and their potential, then you will be reluctant to delegate.

Always ask yourself why you hired them in the first place and if you really want to give them a chance to thrive and flourish.

Often, I was surprised by novel solutions and better results than I ever expected.

3. I rarely played the blame game

When things go wrong and results are lousy, a bad boss will try to blame a team member or the team leader. This is really gruesome when it is the boss’s fault or a company policy that is just not working.

Blaming others is widespread. I can think of examples in every family, friendship, government, sports, and celebrities.

Keeping a cool head and analyzing what went wrong can be much more effective than pointing the finger. If it is the manager’s fault, s/he should be courageous enough to admit it and move on.

“Blame it or praise it, there is no denying the wild horse in us.”
― Virginia Woolf, Jacob’s Room

4. Polish up your EQ (Emotional Intelligence Quotient) skills

Bosses who can be friendly and approachable are not just popular, they are far more effective in their role. We all can think of numerous bosses who are downright bad-tempered, who use violent and offensive language and who are proud of their swearing capacity.

I knew many managers whose EQ was pretty close to zero. They did not understand how to control their emotions and they were totally unaware of the havoc they were creating.

Upset employees, grudges, poor performance, and an unhappy workplace.

If you can substitute all that nasty stuff with empathy, being a good listener, encouraging staff with praise or constructive criticism, you will be the perfect boss (almost!).

Just in case you are worried about your EQ, you can take this test here.

5. You have very few staff meetings

If you are a really great boss, you know that regular meetings are too long and they are a waste of time. Here are a few ways you can make meetings much more fun and rewarding for all staff

· Meetings are for brainstorming and reporting on progress

· Emails can often be a more effective substitute for meetings

· Meetings need to be short and well organized

· You know that time is precious — never let meetings overrun

· Clear agendas and tagged action points for staff are immediately emailed to everyone after the meeting.

Read the post here where I have outlined how you can make meetings much more productive.

6. Say thank you

Those two simple words “thank you” can mean so much. Use it when appropriate and encourage staff. An email or a phone call to thank a member of the team for a goal achieved, a target reached or contract won, will really increase motivation.

Staffs love to feels supported and appreciated. Just being kinder and grateful is the best formula I know. It is fascinating to discover that an NBC News survey found that 70% would renounce a 10% pay rise if they could have a kinder and more considerate boss!

“God gave you a gift of 86,400 seconds today. Have you used one to say thank you? ”
― William Arthur Ward

7. Listen more and talk less

I am not a great talker I must say and I think that helped me a lot. Are you a good listener? Bosses who talk too much and dominate meetings are likely to be met with sullen faces and people who are doodling all the time or sneaking a look at their smartphones.

When this happens, staff feel excluded and much less likely to contribute or make suggestions.

The perfect boss listens.

8. Get your hands dirty

A great way to keep in touch with the reality of working in your company is to do a few menial tasks occasionally. I was surprised at how many problems could arise from seemingly meaningless tasks and the sheer tedium. This is one great way of bonding with staff and also coming into contact with the reality of the workplace and what goes on behind the scenes.

9. Try coaching and giving immediate feedback

It is all very well to let employees find out by learning themselves. This is all part of the initiation process. However, it is when the boss actually takes time to coach a member of staff in some legal or technical aspect, that the boss’s ratings go sky-high.

It is also a great idea to give immediate feedback on performance rather than waiting for the formal assessment review. Giving immediate encouragement or advice when they screw up is invaluable.

10. What words will employees use when describing the company?

This is the real measure of your success as a boss, manager or team leader. When asked to assess the company and positive vibes are expressed, then you know that you are well on the way to becoming the perfect boss.

· Motivating atmosphere

· Respect

· Flexibility

· Constructive feedback

· Trustworthy

· Empathic

· Empowerment

· High staff morale

· Friendly ambiance

· Easy communication

If you hear or see these words being mentioned in relation to your company, then you are well on the way to becoming the perfect boss.

“It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that you’ll do things differently.”
― Warren Buffett

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Robert Locke

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Writes on life lessons & parenting. Runs Problem Kids Blog ( See profile on MuckRack (

The Startup

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