Great Bosses Encourage Excellence


Are you a great manager? A great boss is a person who creates and maintains a safe, inspiring work environment where talented, engaged employees thrive.

The characteristics of GREAT bosses include Growth, Relationships, Excellence, Accountability and Teamwork.

Among many specific things great bosses do, they encourage EXCELLENCE.

One of the best ways to do this is to be very clear with your performance expectations, then coach your team to meet them.

In sports, for example, there is usually a clear outcome in mind. Get the most points, runs, or goals. Cross the finish line first. Wow the judges the most. High performance athletes can achieve excellence in part because they know what they are striving to accomplish.

At work, you can do the same thing. Set standards that are understandable and that stretch your team to do things exceptionally well and prompt them to exceed the standards every time. This means keeping commitments (i.e. delivery promises) to customers and clients, making decisions with integrity, and quality-control checking their work.

As a great boss, it is up to you to create the type of environment that encourages this. Most organizations have metrics in place to monitor progress toward goals. When teams meet or exceed projects, they earn respect and trust (and sometimes, higher goals next time, which is a mixed blessing.) They can also enjoy boosts to confidence and morale with these wins.

I have seen a number of bosses do this well. Here are some of the actions I have seen pay off.

They created clear performance standards.  These bosses set tangible, measurable, and observable standards. All parties agreed to the expectations, so it was clearly defined what a “good job” would mean in the next performance period.

They set the context for performance. Your team deserves to understand your strategy and “why” they are being given the expectations they are.  Address any concerns about “How does this target help our team?” or “These deadlines seem like they will be really tough to meet.”

They linked the team's performance to meaningful contributions to society.

Most of the time, your employees will see their job goal as “make money for the company.” A great boss gives the team opportunities to contribute to the community and charities. For example, teams participating in a fundraising walk/run, or delivering Meals on Wheels, or volunteering at a summer day camp are all ways your organization can think beyond just making money.

They celebrated progress as well as accomplishment. Most leaders do not praise their team members enough. Watch for those good things that happen daily–often behind the scenes–and celebrate them at the moment. Don’t miss the chance to validate your team members’ efforts. That will also help them stay motivated to keep their goals on track.

If you are a boss, you have the responsibility, and privilege, to lead your team to excellence. Go out and do it!

For more posts on leadership and culture, visit Driving Results through Culture.

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S. Chris Edmonds is the founder and CEO of The Purposeful Culture Group. After a 15-year executive career leading and managing successful business teams, Chris began his consulting company in 1990. Under Chris’ guidance, culture clients have consistently boosted their customer satisfaction and employee engagement rates by 40 percent or more and results and profits by 35 percent or more.