How to Be A Great Boss

If you are a born leader, you might already be an awesome boss who is loved by everyone you work with and create stellar results for your company. However, most people lack sufficient experience to become a great boss. It’s more likely that you become a boss as you progress through your career, and then learn from your mistakes (while your employees suffer). This can be an extremely difficult process as we are often too preoccupied with ensuring our success (or survival) at the firm, and often forget to examine our own behavior as bosses.

If you want to avoid being the same bad boss that you hated before, and if you want to be a truly successful leader who is well respected, then this guide might be of value to you. Below, we have handpicked and combined some of the best advices that we’ve gathered from leaders from amazing organizations like Google and leading sports teams. And it’s quite simple. Being a great boss comes down to 3 main factors.


Any organization that’s worthy and valuable is built on trust. A boss must trust his employees to do their job well, and employees must trust their boss to have their best interest in mind. Without trust, communications become inefficient, processes become prolonged, and stress levels spike for everyone. And, stress is counterproductive.

New England Patriots, an American football team in Massachusetts, is arguably one of the best sports teams of our era. In a documentary about their success, the overwhelmingly consistent theme was that each member of the team trusted one another to do his job. They’ve spent thousands of hours with each other, going through hardships together, building trust and respect for what each other is capable of doing for the team. This included both the players and the coaches.

Any businesses or organizations that hope to succeed need to be built on trust like this. This allows them to operate as one well-oiled machine that can block & tackle any problems with ease and efficiency. The ultimate effect of such an environment is that everyone works hard, innovates and achieve more than they are expected to without needing to worry office politics.

To summarize, to build trusts, you need to do three things well:

  • Clearly define everyone’s job
  • Empower your employees, and trust them to do their jobs well
  • Help everyone focus on their responsibility


Whether you like it or not, business is a team sports. And for a team to excel, its members have to form strong bonds that can work out issues and last through tough times. As a boss, it’s your responsibility to make sure this happens, and there’s no better way to achieve this goal than leading through examples.

This involves spending time with your employees, learning about who they are and what they care about, and supporting them as much as possible. By getting to know what they care about and what kind of motivations drive them, you can keep your team motivated and invested in your firm’s cause. By understanding their strengths and weaknesses, you can organize your firm in the most efficient way possible by leveraging their strengths and covering their weaknesses.

The goal of being a boss is to encourage your employees to do all they can in their jobs instead of what is required in their jobs. Only people who are motivated are capable of doing this. After all, why would anyone go out of their way to excel in something they don’t care about? Too many people mistakenly think that paying more money solves every problem; this is not true. If you show them that you deeply care about their wellbeing (physically, emotionally and intellectually) , they will return the favor.

Below is a list of some tangible things you can do to make sure this happens: * Spend time with your employees outside of work settings, especially in casual settings * Ask your employees about what they do for fun, or important things that are happening in their lives * When delegating work, explain to them why something needs to get done, make them care, and involve them in decision making & improvement of the task

Radical Candor

Kim Scott, an ex-Googler who is now a respected leadership coach, emphasizes a concept called radical candor. It’s a mix of deeply caring about someone while being direct and honest. Below chart is a great summary of how this works.

picture from a video of her presentation on Youtube

Essentially, what she means is that if you care deeply about your employees, you should be brutally honest with them about everything. This not only involves giving out open praise or criticism, but also being open to being challenged, critiqued and evolving yourself. By both being fully committed to other people’s wellbeing, you can create an environment where honest communication is both welcomed and expected.

For instance, consider a scenario where you do not critique an underperforming employee out of care. If this situation persists for too long, it may cause a tension in the office as his peers get frustrated and ultimately lead to an implosion of corporate culture (if not having some of your best people leaving the firm). Instead of firing that particular employee, you could have prevented a chaos by critiquing him early and honestly so he could improve.

In order to do this, there are few tips that you can consider for your own work environment: * Praise openly, critique in private: you should make sure you protect your employee’s self-respect * Make it easy for your employees to critique your own performance: anyone should be able to raise issues or problems * Make backstabbing impossible: do not tolerate behaviors that destroy an honest and caring culture * Be transparent: make sure people know what their jobs are, that they are empowered to do them well, and that you have their back * Conflict resolution: when your employees have conflicts with one another, have them resolve the issue in front of you

Parting Thoughts

As you may have already noticed, the aforementioned three qualities are interdependent to one another. By caring about your employees, you can build trust in your team. By building trust, you can empower your employees to take full ownership of their work and innovate consistently. At the same time, you maintain the balance of care, trust and success by creating a radically honest environment that holds everyone accountable for their responsibilities and behaviors. You should always remember, as a boss, its your jobs to keep your people motivated and invested in the company’s mission. Often, it’s much more effective to build an emotional bond with a team than to throw money around in an effort to glue together a team that doesn’t want to be together.

Duckju Kang

Duckju (DJ) is the founder and CEO of ValueChampion. He covers the financial services industry, consumer finance products, budgeting and investing. He previously worked at hedge funds such as Tiger Asia and Cadian Capital. He graduated from Yale University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics with honors, Magna Cum Laude. His work has been featured on major international media such as CNBC, Bloomberg, CNN, the Straits Times, Today and more.