How to Be a Good Boss



Photo by Kumar Appaiah via Flickr

What does it take to manage other people effectively? Colin Lowther and Robin Basselin look at the qualities that make a person a good boss.

Transcript


Voice 1  

Welcome to Spotlight. I’m Colin Lowther.

Voice 2  

And I’m Robin Basselin. Spotlight uses a special English method of broadcasting. It is easier for people to understand, no matter where in the world they live.

Voice 1  

Today feels like the best day of your life. The leader of your company has offered you a higher position at work. Beginning today, you will be a boss! You now have new responsibilities. You are in charge of people. And you are probably making more money. You feel successful and proud.

Voice 2  

But you may also feel worried. You want to do a good job. But being a boss is new. You must be a leader now. What if you make bad decisions? What if your employees do not like you? Being a good boss can be difficult. Today's Spotlight is on what to do, and what not to do, to be a good boss.

Voice 1  

Today’s program will look at three important things that all good bosses do. First is trust. Having a trusting relationship with employees is one of signs of a great boss. When bosses do not trust employees, they make a common mistake. They micro-manage their employees.

Voice 2  

Imagine this. Mia works for a company that sells online educational programs. Her job is to get more clients. She must find people who will buy her company's products. But Mia does not always feel that her boss trusts her. One day, Mia is talking with a co-worker during break. Her boss walks into the room and begins to talk to her.

Boss

Mia, did you send those emails to our new clients?

Mia

Yes, I sent them yesterday.

Boss

Did you make sure to list our prices from the highest to the lowest?

Mia

Yes, I did. Just like you told me to.

Boss

Okay. Did you also include the information on our new product?

Mia

Yes. You sent me an email telling me exactly what to write. And I did it.

Voice 1  

There are many things wrong with this situation. First, Mia's boss told her every detail of what to do, and how to do it. Then, Mia's boss felt he had to make sure that Mia performed the instructions exactly right. He did not trust her to do it herself.

Voice 2  

This may not seem like a big deal. But micro-managing can make good employees feel like their bosses do not trust them. And when bosses micro-manage, they often spend too much time worrying about details and not enough time leading. A good boss stays involved with their employees. But they do not try to control everything. They learn to trust their team.

Voice 1  

The second important thing that good bosses do is listen. Listening is a good way for bosses to build relationships with their employees. By listening, they can learn about employees’ achievements. They can also identify problems in the workplace.

Voice 2  

Imagine the following example. Chris is a teacher. He loves teaching. But he feels like his boss does not listen to his problems or help him with solutions. Yesterday, Chris and his boss had the following conversation:

Boss

Chris, one of your students’ parents called me today. He was very angry. He said that the students in your classroom were not listening or behaving well yesterday. He said one student was shouting and throwing things around the room.

Chris

Yes, it’s true. Remember the student I told you about? John? He is very difficult. He needs extra help. He—

Boss

It is your job to help him, Chris.

Chris

Ms. Anderson, I have 32 students in my class. Six of them have serious difficulty learning. They need extra help. I have been saying all year that I need a teaching assistant. Would you consider—

Boss

Chris, you are their teacher. Find a way to control your students.

Voice 1  

This story shows how easily bosses can forget to listen to their employees. Chris had been trying to tell his boss about his problems all year. But his boss had not been listening. Now, there was a crisis, and the boss was even less willing to listen. A good boss would have let Chris talk openly about his problems. Even if she could not help Chris with resources, she could let him know that she understands his struggles. And if possible, she could have tried to help Chris find solutions.

Voice 2  

Lastly, good bosses are humble. They recognize that they are not always right. And, they respect the thoughts and opinions of their employees. Often, bosses become bosses because of their high level of skill. But they must not let this make them become too proud.

Voice 1  

For an example of humility, let us think again about Mia. After months of being micromanaged by her boss, Mia decided to leave her job at the educational program company. Now, she has a new job and a much better boss. Listen to this discussion between Mia and her new boss.

Boss

Hi, Mia. How are you?

Mia

Great, thanks.

Boss

Listen, I wanted to tell you what a great job you did with our new clients. They were very pleased with your presentation.

Mia

Really?

Boss

Yes, and they told my boss what a great company we have! So I told him about you and your presentation. Good work!

Mia

Thanks! Your suggestions really helped me make that presentation so good!

Boss

Mia, I'm really excited about what you have to offer the team.

Voice 2  

Mia's new boss shows good humility. First, she is not afraid to share credit with Mia. Bad bosses take all the credit themselves. Mia's boss also praises her in public. She shares Mia's success with the whole team. Good bosses know that an employee’s achievement is an advantage for the whole team. It takes a great boss to stay humble in a position of authority.

Voice 1  

Jeff Haden is a business writer. He wrote a story about what makes great bosses. On the Linkedin website, he wrote,

Voice 8  

"Every boss has a job title. That position gives them the right to direct others, to organize and teach and correct. But unforgettable bosses lead because their employees want them to lead. Their workers want to work and are encouraged by the person, not the title."

Voice 2  

Being a good boss is not easy. But if you trust your employees, listen to them, and stay humble, your employees will respect you and not just your position. And that is the sign of a truly great boss!

Voice 1  

The writer of this program was Jen Hawkins. The producer was Michio Ozaki.  The voices you heard were from the United States and the United Kingdom. All quotes were adapted and voiced by Spotlight. You can listen to this program again, and read it, on the internet at www.radioenglish.net. This program is called, “How to be a Good Boss."

Voice 2  

We hope you can join us again for the next Spotlight program. Goodbye!

Question:

What do you think makes a great boss?

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