10 things extraordinary bosses give employees

Good bosses have strong organizational skills, make great decisions, and get important things done. Exceptional bosses do all of this – and more. Of course, exceptional bosses care about their company, clients, vendors, and suppliers. But even more importantly, they care to an exceptional degree about the people who work for them. That's why extraordinary bosses give these 10 things to every employee.

  1. leaders3Autonomy and independence. Great organizations optimize processes, but not every task needs a best practice. Employee engagement is largely due to autonomy and independence. When possible, give employees autonomy and they will find ways to do their jobs better than you imagined possible.

  2. Clear expectations. While all jobs should include some degree of independence, you need to set expectations for how employees should handle some situations. If you need to change expectations, be sure to communicate what is changing, why it's changing, and what you expect in the future.

  3. Objectives that matter. Some of the best employees are extremely competitive – especially with themselves. Meaningful targets can add a sense of purpose to even the most repetitive tasks.

  4. A true sense of purpose. Every employee likes to feel like he or she is part of something bigger. So, let your employees know what you want to achieve for our company and our clients. To have a true sense of purpose, employees need to know what to care about and, more importantly, why to care.

  5. Opportunities to provide significant input. Engaged employees have ideas. If you take away opportunities for them to make suggestions – or disregard their ideas without consideration – they will immediately disengage. Great bosses let an employee know that they appreciate his or her input.

  6. A real sense of connection. Employees want to work with people they respect and admire – and with people who respect and admire them. A kind word, quick discussion about family, or informal conversation to ask if an employee needs any help can provide a true sense of personal connection.

  7. Consistency. Most people do not mind a boss who is strict, demanding, and quick to offer feedback, as long as he or she treats every employee fairly. Communication is the key to consistency. If an employee understands why you made a decision, he or she is less likely to assume unfair treatment.

  8. Private criticism. No employee is perfect. Every employee needs constructive feedback. Good bosses give that feedback. Great bosses do this in private.

  9. Public praise. Every employee does something well. You might have to work hard to find reasons to recognize an employee who simply meets standards, but a few words of recognition – especially public praise for some employees – could spur an average performer to become a great performer.

  10. A chance for a meaningful future. Every job should have the potential to lead to greater things. Employees will only care about your business after you show you care about them. You can do this by demonstrating that you have hopes for your company's – and your employees' – future.

Adapted from 10 Things Extraordinary Bosses Give Employees, INC. Magazine, August 2013.