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Thursday, December 26, 2013

Want to be a Great Boss in 2014?

By Tommy Eden

Make these Top 5 Resolutions for 2014, stick to them, and your employees will  call you a Great Boss by year end:

Double Feedback. Even if you are not good at giving feedback, employees want to hear what you are thinking. The most important feedback you can give is specific and sincere. Learn the magic words to use when giving an employee evaluation;

Lead Strategically. Write down your 2014 mission, goals and  priorities. Confidence, autonomy, purpose and growth are intrinsic employee motivators driving the internal engines of those around you. Setting 2014 goals and priorities, and then getting out of your employees way, will make you a strategic leader and not a micro-manager;

Systems Check. Do a critical examination of all the systems in your organization. Learn how to sniff out employment claims and litigation landmines before they blow your organization apart. Handbook updates, wage and hour audits, dealing with workplace bullies,  and ObamaCare compliance are some of my top 10 system checks for 2014;

Learn Something New. Do not expect your people to keep on learning if you don't show a commitment to learning as well. For instance, when managers apologize they gain respect by holding themselves accountable. Using your influence and knowledge to help others succeed is what great bosses do. Good coaches know how to ask the right questions to help people discover their own path to answers. These might sound like new and scary concepts to some, but that is what great bosses do. They learn and grow.

Improve Emotional Intelligence.  It helps you manage yourself so you can lead others. Are you a micro manager, not strategically minded, procrastinating, unorganized, show disrespect, always reacting and not planning ahead, etc. Improve your weaknesses and listen more in 2014 if you want to be a great boss.

Common Sense Counsel to get there:

First, go public with your resolutions.  Think about the people who care most about your growth and the success of the team, and post for all to see.

Second, ask a few people to help you. This can range from observing you and letting you know what they see to actively coaching you.  Why is that important? There is something called coach’s bias. Once I'm invested in someone's growth, or in the success of an employer organization, I begin seeing things more quickly than others. Feedback is the secret sauce you need as you work on your five resolutions.

Third, put your team through a SWOT review. Schedule a free thinking breakfast time complete with a large post-it chart. SWOT is taught in all MBA programs and is what great organizations regularly perform. Learn your organization’s Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities & Threats. You will be amazed what you will have on the wall when the last donut is gone!

Tommy Eden is a partner working out of the Constangy, Brooks & Smith, LLP offices in Opelika, AL and West Point, GA and a member of the ABA Section of Labor and Employment Law and serves on the Board of Directors for the East Alabama SHRM Chapter. He can be contacted at or 334-246-2901. Blog