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Are you a Boss or a Leader?

Aug 05, 2016 by Stevie Valle

By now you've probably seen graphics like the one above circulating the Internet comparing the qualities of bosses and leaders in the workplace. But what impact do these qualities have really when it comes to employee retention?

According to The Wall Street Journal, 2015 Gallup survey discovered that 50% of those surveyed (7,200) quit their jobs "to get away from their manager." With that knowledge, as the big wig around your office, your relationship with your employees is one of the major forces driving them to stay or go. 

The good news is, if you find yourself checking more in the boss column, a few minor changes to the way you manage may be the difference between creating loyal employees willing to go the distance, and driving out potentially excellent employees. 

No more micromanaging.

As a small business owner, your company is like your baby. You want to see it thrive, and do not want anyone messing that up, so the desire to micromanage every facet of business is understandable. Though you're micromanaging with good intentions, your employees see this as your inability to trust them to perform their job duties. You hired them, so chances are high that you saw an ability to perform the job requirements at a high level. 

Relinquish a bit of that control and instead of micromanaging, encourage them to do their best and lay out specific guidelines for their job or project. Not only will this result in more positive feelings from your team, it will take a lot off your plate. Trying to do everything on your own is exhausting!

Be available.

If you've just started a new project, or taken on an increased workload, there's nothing more infuriating as an employee to be busting your tail only to see your boss locked in their office for hours. You have a lot on your plate too, but rather than hiding away, be visible among your team so they can see what you're doing to make their day run more efficiently. Creating this "we" culture lets your team know you're just as invested in the project, and their, success and motivates them to perform better all while knowing they have you at the helm.

Think long term and share that vision with your team.

A bad boss lacks vision for the long term growth of the company. To your team, this translates as a lack of plan for their growth and no one wants to get stuck in a job that is going nowhere. 

Though the day-to-day is vital for keeping your business afloat, you should have a plan for what the future of your business holds. Sharing that vision and plan reassures your team you're in it for the long haul and also lets them know your ambition and commitment to the company.

Give credit where credit is due.

Your team works hard for you every day. Some may even show a little extra ambition and come up with a great idea that helps your company.  It's tempting to take the credit for that success. It is after all, your company and you likely had a large hand in bringing that idea to fruition. To your employee, however, taking all of the credit for their idea makes them feel unappreciated and more likely to look for a new job as a result.  

Instead, praise their accomplishments either privately or publicly. A "thank you" can go a long way also. At the end of the day, your team wants to know they're doing a good job and are appreciated and valued at your company. With a bit of attention on your part, your team will know their hard work isn't going unnoticed.  

Invest in your talent.

There is sometimes no avoiding looking outside your current employee pool for a new position. It's possible your current team doesn't have the necessary experience or education to excel in a brand new role. However, there are likely many positions your current team could eventually fill. 

As mentioned earlier, your loyal employees are looking to stay and grow within your company. A good leader helps them thrive in their current role and notices the qualities that may eventually make them fit for a promotion. Nurturing those qualities and talents has immense positive consequences for you and your business all while leaving your team happy and fulfilled.  


Changing your management style isn't going to happen overnight. Start the journey by becoming more aware of your employee's reaction to how you approach things, and adjust as needed. The business world needs more leaders. Are you ready to become one?


What makes you a good leader? Share in the comments below.

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