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14 Nuggets of Advice for Being a Good Boss

It can sometimes feel like horrible bosses far outnumber the good ones. And it’s safe to say that most of us have had — or will have — a difficult boss at some point in our lives. One could say it’s an occupational hazard. But rest assured,  good bosses do exist. And although it’s not easy, being a genuinely good head honcho is an aspiration for most of us who find ourselves in leadership positions.

But what makes a good boss? Is it being kind, helpful, caring, and compassionate? Or does it come down to efficiency, honesty, and the ability to inspire? Overall, being an effective leader seems to require a balancing act between all of these traits, and no boss is perfect — not in everyone’s eyes, at least.

Still, being a role model in the workplace is a worthy goal to strive for. As the business magnate and philanthropist Jack Ma once said, “A good boss is better than a good company.” Here are some words of wisdom that can help us all become better bosses, in leadership positions of any size or scale.

A good boss makes his men realize they have more ability than they think they have so that they consistently do better work than they thought they could.
Charles Erwin Wilson

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The worst mistake a boss can make is not to say “well done.”
John Ashcroft

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The speed of the boss is the speed of the team.
Lee Iacocca

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A good boss asks what part she could have played in the problem. And then she asks herself what she can do better next time.
Lisi Harrison

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No man will make a great business who wants to do it all himself, or to get all the credit of doing it.
Andrew Carnegie

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Rank does not confer privilege or give power. It imposes responsibility.
Peter F. Drucker

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As a boss … I’ve learned that failure will always come. I’ve learned to give it a big squeeze, smile at it, humble myself to it and then use it as a springboard to send me on my way to strength, success, and fulfillment.
Christina Tosi

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What your job is, as the boss, is to find really good people and empower them and leave them alone.
Ruth Reichl

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Nothing else can quite substitute for a few well-chosen, well-timed, sincere words of praise. They’re absolutely free — and worth a fortune.
Sam Walton

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If you have to remind people you’re the boss, I don’t think you’re going to be a very effective leader.
Paul DePodesta

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Good bosses are aware that sharing information in a thorough, timely manner makes people feel included, respected, and acknowledged for their ability to contribute. And they are receptive to feedback — all the time.
John Hoover

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One thing I always say is that you telling everyone what to do does not make you the boss, but you doing everything you told yourself to do makes you the boss.
Terry Crews

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The best bosses break down problems into bite-sized pieces and talk and act like each little task is something that people can complete without great difficulty. Doing so instills calmness and confidence, and spurs constructive action.
Robert I. Sutton

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Train people well enough so they can leave, treat them well enough so they don't want to.
Richard Branson

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Featured image credit: Krakenimages/ Shutterstock

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About the Author
Tony Dunnell
Tony is an English writer of non-fiction and fiction living on the edge of the Amazon jungle.
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Daily Question
What poet wrote, "Merge mercy with might, and might with right"?

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