Your desk is your sanctuary. It's understandable. But if you never leave it, you can end up sending all the wrong signals. When an important client comes in, or an employee arrives for an crucial conversation, you should stand up and move to another setting where you sit next to each other. Staying behind the desk makes you seem unapproachable.
The best way to connect with people is to engage them in small talk often. A boss should avoid probing too deeply into an employee's life, so keep it simple. Discussions about the weather or that weekend golf trip allows you to connect at just the right level. This creates the "BLT" affect: Believable, likable, and trustworthy.
When you and your friends share a joke through an e-mail, a quick abbreviation or symbol, such as lol or ;-), seems natural. But in an e-mail to a client or employee, it is usually inappropriate. Treat an initial e-mail to a new person like a formal business letter. When you get to know them better, you can relax your prose, but never include abbreviations or signs they may not understand.
Some bosses try to avoid dishing out positive feedback, fearing too much praise will go to their employees' heads. But too little will damage a company's atmosphere. You should find a justified compliment for every employee and make it a regular thing. This will keep employees feeling appreciated and motivated.
Keep talk about clothes to a minimum. All too frequently, this can seem like a sexual advance. If you feel you need to, then try thanking them for looking professional every day and following the company's dress code.
If you walk in the door in torn shorts and flip flops, guess what? Your employees will soon wear the same to the office. Your clothes should correspond to your business. A lawyer should wear a suit. For an Internet firm, this might mean a polo and khakis. And your clothes must fit well, neither too loose or too tight.
Don't even think about that Facebook friend request. Your employees and clients head to those social networking sites to forget about work, not find another way to correspond with you. You should never reach out first over social networks, but if your employees make the first moves, it'd be rude to ignore that.
Practice the "boss face." This means neither a scowl, grimace, or grin. You should aim for concentrated attentiveness and be able to greet a client or employee with a smile. Your standard facial expression helps set your workplace's tone. If you look unhappy, soon everybody will start acting unhappy too.
Gossip is mean-spirited and can rapidly reduce moral. If rumors and gossip start spreading within the company, then you should address those directly and call a staff meeting. What you don't want is an atmosphere of closed doors and whispered exchanges.