100th podcast spurs 100 ideas for great bosses

Let’s call this an education celebration. Since early last year, we’ve posted “What Great Bosses Know” podcasts here on Poynter.org and on iTunes U, where Apple tells us they’ve been downloaded more than 5 million times.

Today, I’m posting the 100th podcast in the series. To mark the occasion, I’ve put together a list of 100 ideas to help current and aspiring managers become great bosses.

Oh, and there’s one more modest reason for celebration. My book, “Work Happy: What Great Bosses Know,” will be published in June 2012 by a division of the Hachette Book Group.

For years, people have asked me to suggest one book that could help them in the way our seminars and columns do. When I couldn’t find such a book, I decided to write it! That’s how I spent my summer — developing a workshop-in-a-book that I truly believe will help managers become effective and respected leaders and transform the organizations they lead.

But back to today’s lesson: 100 ideas is pretty big data dump, so we’ll break it into 25 per day for four days. I hope they generate good conversations in your workplace and good thinking among managers everywhere.

100 Ideas for Great Bosses: Part One (1-25)

  1. Your title gives you power. Intelligence, integrity and empathy give you influence.
  2. Be the same person around your staff as you are in the presence of your bosses.
  3. Lead in your own name. If you have to invoke your boss’s name to get things done, you undercut your credibility.
  4. You are always on stage. People read meaning into your moves. Act accordingly.
  5. Use your professional expertise to teach, coach and lead – not to micromanage or spend excessive time “keeping your hand in” work you once did.
  6. Your employees are the ones who define “micromanagement,” not you.
  7. When you’ve made a mistake, apologize. Assuming your offenses and errors are unintended and uncommon, an apology builds your credibility.
  8. Delegate deliberately; it can help people grow. Then stay connected with a light touch.
  9. When you delegate, make certain you hand off not only responsibility, but sufficient authority for the person to succeed.
  10. Praise early and often, specifically and sincerely.
  11. Praise fails if it smacks of condescension or control.
  12. The word “but” erases the words that precede it. Praise sounds like a throwaway when you routinely add “but,” followed by criticism.
  13. If you think you are good at providing feedback, double it.
  14. Geography is destiny. People who work in close proximity to you get more attention – unless you intentionally reach out to others.
  15. Great bosses don’t just fix products; they coach people.
  16. The most important tool a coach has is a well-crafted question.
  17. Well-crafted (open-ended and nonjudgmental) questions help people discover their own answers.
  18. People are more likely to embrace their own ideas than those that are imposed on them.
  19. When change involves learning something new, people resist it because they hate the temporary incompetence they inevitably experience.
  20. Be generous in sharing credit; be honorable in taking blame.
  21. Don’t lie. If you can’t share information, say so. The trust you build year-round pays off in those moments when you aren’t at liberty to disclose information.
  22. Bosses get hurt, frustrated and discouraged – but they don’t take it out on their staff. They vent to other managers or mentors who understand and help, or tell them they’re off base.
  23. Bosses who think fear is a motivator usually motivate people to find better bosses.
  24. Introverts can learn to step up, speak up and be strong leaders.
  25. Extroverts can learn to shut up, listen up and be strong leaders.

That’s the first installment of four. By the end of the week, we’ll hit 100 ideas. I’d love to hear your feedback! If you’d like these in podcast form, go to iTunesU for the whole “Great Bosses” collection or click on the player below for today’s installment:

Coming up: “Great Boss” Ideas 26-50

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