Being a boss is not easy.  It’s a little like becoming a parent – your new direct reports don’t come with a manual, and most of the time, you still have the rest of your “day job” to do.

Plus, people can get promoted into management roles for all sorts of reasons other than already being good managers. Unsurprisingly, we often learn by trial and lots of error, and our team members can suffer for it.

Yet, when I first saw the infographic below, I was pleasantly surprised. Mainly because the kinds of actions it would take to improve employee satisfaction are pretty simple to do and don’t cost much if any money.

How's the Boss
Source: BestMastersDegrees.com

How to become a better boss

In addition to the great “tips” from the comparison of “good boss/bad boss” behaviors, here are three of my thoughts on how to become a better boss.

1.  Make your people feel seen and heard

This is a basic human need, and your employees are people too!

  • Make a decision to say hello to people when you pass them in the hallway.
  • Get out of your chair/cubicle/office at least once a day, walk around and find out how people are doing.
  • When your people are telling you, stay present and actively listen – you never know what you might learn.

2.  Notice how the things you say and do “land”on your people

Having positive intent is a great start, but it pays to check on the receiving end too.

  • Did your upbeat message in the weekly meeting leave people feeling great or deflated?
  • If you notice that your remarks didn’t create the reaction you intended, why not say what you had in mind and check with them on how they interpreted it so you can address it on the spot?
  • And if that’s too risky, then ask someone for feedback in private after the meeting and plan your strategy from there.

3.  Get to know the “care and feeding” of your team

Not everyone reacts in the same way to what you say and do.

  • What motivates each individual? What makes them tick? Some need more tough love, while other thrive on positive reinforcement.
  • Flex your style to get the most out of each of your direct reports.
  • If you’re not a natural in this area, then connect with people who are so you can consult with and learn from them. And in the meantime, do small experiments and pay attention to what does and doesn’t work.

To sum up, the organization determines the general climate, but you as the boss create the local weather. It’s up to you to make a positive difference for your team.