How to be a better boss

How to be a better boss

By Cara Jenkin    

Managers need to lead, not rule, their team to have the respect of staff while helping the business move forward, an expert says.

Bob Selden, author of What To Do When You Become The Boss, reveals nine ways that managers can become a productive leader in their organisation.

* Give recognition to people for good work regularly.

”Find at least one of your team doing something well every day and thank them specifically for what they’ve done,” he says.

”This builds a positive culture within your team.”

* Ask for help when needed and use the experience within the team.

”It’s easy to think, ‘I’m the manager. I’m supposed to know what I’m doing, so it may make me look weak if I ask for help’,” Mr Selden says.

”There’s only a very slight difference between self-confidence and arrogance.”

He says arrogant managers say they have the answer to addressing a challenge or problem whereas self-confident managers think they definitely know there is an answer but may not necessarily have it themselves.

* Keep a learning journal.

Mr Selden says managers need to write down what they think may be important to remember in the future.

It can include how major challenges are overcome, what did not work and what will occur differently next time.

”Review your journal once a week on a designated day and time,” he says.

* Avoid snap decisions.

”Certainly trust your gut instinct but before jumping into action, reflect – is this the best approach for this issue at this time?” he says.

* Admit mistakes.

Great leaders are willing to admit when they are wrong and admitting mistakes shows you are human, Mr Selden says.

”It also builds trust and respect,” he says.

* Take care when giving negative feedback to experienced staff.

”Ask them for their input in solving the issue or improving their performance,” Mr Selden says.

”If you have not had some training in giving feedback, ask your manager.”

* Check your results.

He says managers who have been in the role for nine months need to seek informal or formal feedback from their manager to review their own performance.

* Find a mentor.

”Look for a manager within your organisation whom everyone respects,” Mr Selden says.

”Build a relationship with that person and over time, this friendship should turn into a mentoring relationship.”

* Work with your experience.

Young, new managers have energy and potential to move up the corporate ladder but lack experience.

”In 12 months, make sure your manager will be telling his/ her colleagues it was a great decision to promote you,” he says.


Author Bob Selden says to be a successful boss you must ”build your network” of contacts within your company.

* First, look at the organisation chart and take note of the managers and key workers in each department.

* Look at who the successful managers are and introduce yourself if you have not been introduced already. If possible, ask them to mentor you.

* Look at who else could possibly be of help to you in your professional development or career at the company.

* Make sure you build a network of colleagues from outside your team. Each team and department has a role to play and sometimes knowing others from outside your field can be an advantage to your development.

* Find more advice on how to develop a successful career at

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