Great organizations are built by great bosses. (That's why identifying and attracting talented people is almost as important as developing talented people.)
How do you become a better boss? You could take a page from the Google book and match your skills to what Google determined are the key behaviors of top managers.
Or you could check out the following. I asked one million-plus LinkedIn followers a simple question:
"If you could cause every boss in the world to start doing one thing, what would it be?"
Within days, I had received a ton of responses. Here are some of (at least what I think are) the best.
1. Create a culture of communication.
"Invest in a culture of open, regular, organized internal communication; one which eliminates the guess work and doesn't leave room for distrust.
"When employees know where they stand and trust that they will be included and timely informed of any crucial developments in the company, they can dedicate solely to the job rather than wasting valuable energy worrying about backstage politics." --Fernanda Monteiro Alves
A side benefit? The more people know, the less they're likely to gossip about other things. Debating the reasons behind a decision, the motivation behind an action, the speculation about a hidden agenda ... Those conversations are hard to resist.
The next time you're tempted to talk about another person, think about whether you would say what you're about to say to that person.
And the next time someone starts to talk about someone else, excuse yourself and walk away. Don't worry that you'll lose a gossiper's respect; anyone willing to gossip doesn't respect other people anyway.
2. Have regular individual conversations.
"Focused, regular one-on-ones with direct reports is critical. The payoff is great, and many issues can be avoided by investing this time in your team.
"(Those meetings) ultimately save time, so 'not enough time' is not an excuse." --Jocelyn K.
Saying you can't find time to spend with your employees is like saying you don't want to do your job.
3. Know (to a reasonable degree) how to do your employees' jobs.
"My boss (our ops manager) and the owner of our company ... know every aspect of what our techs do and still do it themselves.
"There's nothing like someone having your back 100 percent, because they've been there and they'll gladly roll up their sleeves and get in the trench with you. This is the only company I've ever worked for that said, 'We're a family,' and meant it." --Kyle Kissman
While, in theory, a great manager can manage any function or process, in practice, possessing some level of technical skill makes it much easier to build credibility, trust, and respect.
So if you don't know how your employees do their jobs, start learning. You don't need to be able to do everything -- but you should be able to do some things.
4. Publicly fail.
"My most important job is to publicly try to fail at one thing every single day. Not only does this make me more approachable and human, it stretches my abilities and adds to my skills. My team is encouraged to do the same.
"The beauty is that, once we are no longer afraid of the negative impact of failure, it becomes accepted and more comfortable. Then we use it as our superpower, as we can start to actively seek it out and use this skill to find huge and unexpected opportunities for innovation and growth!" --April Palmer
Wearing a crown is a powerful feeling, but royalty has its downside. When you're all-powerful, it's easy to stop questioning your decisions, your perspective, and your approach to solving problems.
Even worse, you can lose the ability to see yourself from your employees' point of view. It's almost impossible to run a company and lead others when you've lost all perspective on what it's like to make mistakes -- and not have all the answers.
5. Don't just delegate. Share.
"Delegating can go wrong on so many levels ... and there are duties and responsibilities that should not be delegated to others.
"Sharing means you allow others to participate in the journey and process -- and makes you a participating partner in the team, creating buy-in and helping employees understand the 'why.'" --George Newman
Leadership is defined by a series of small moments: suggestions. Corrections. Advice. Instructions. A quiet word here, a gentle nudge there.
Because the best leaders walk beside, and sometimes even behind, the people they lead.
Not in front.
6. Be a team leader, not a supervisor.
"As a team leader, you recognize each employee's strengths and work to improve them, but you also provide encouragement and strength to work together toward your goals; you and the team provide support when a player is down; and you acknowledge to yourself and the team that no one's position allows them to be too good to help out or to pitch in to make sure a goal is met.
"Teams celebrate accomplishments and pull together when the goal seems unobtainable." --Lorie Schrameck
Good bosses care about how things are done. Great bosses care about how things can be done differently: better. Cheaper. Faster. They accomplish organizational goals, while also helping individual employees achieve personal goals.
Sound impossible? It's not.
7. Be more self-aware.
"The best leaders I've worked with have one overarching strength: self-awareness. They're more likely to look for ways to develop tactical skills, to work to be a better communicator, to coach and manage their team, to manage their ego, and to check their own biases." --Brandi Dupre
"The person who knows her or his strengths and weaknesses has a better understanding of the people around them. The person who starts from self-mastery may be a good coach in the future for others." --Elzbieta Durska
Ultimately, self-awareness is what we tell ourselves about ourselves. Self-talk becomes your personal stories. You believe what you tell yourself.
When you tell yourself you could do your job better, you'll match that thought with action.
And you'll be much more understanding when the people around you aren't perfect.
Because we're all on a journey to mastery.