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How to be a good Boss

Seven years ago John decided to start a new business, he was fed of with working for someone else, was skilled at his job and wanted to take control of his life.  He didn’t have high expectations of great success, but then, almost by accident he found he had a growing business and need help, he needed to employ people. His first employees were family members and people that were known to him, valuing the reliability and loyalty that he hoped these people would bring. 

John knew a lot about his employees, where they lived, their relationships, how many children they have, etc., etc. The employees also knew about their boss, they recognised the commitment to growing the business which supports them all.  They witnessed at first-hand how stressful it often was for John and excused his occasional outbursts of anger or frustration. 

The years have passed by, the company has grown, and now employs twenty-five members of staff including two supervisors.  John’s role has changed, he now spends little time doing ‘hands on’ work, he spends most of his time at his desk or in meetings, as a result of this, his relationship with his employees has changed. 

John still wanders around the workshop and says good morning to everyone but is aware that his employees have their own banter, which he is not included in. Two of his friends who were with him from the start are now supervisors and paid well, although if there are any problems they still come to John to sort them out. 

As John walks through the workshop door and gets into his new top of the range BMW, he thinks to himself “I wonder what my staff think of me? Do they know how hard I’ve worked for my car and lifestyle? Do they think I’m a good boss?”


This is a story which is likely to resonate with many people.  In my experience, it is quite common for business owners to arrive at this situation and we know that it’s ‘lonely at the top.’

I have helped many business owners overcome this anxiety by talking to staff member as part of a review, asking them questions confidentially that the business owner would like to know the answers to. I have interviewed staff at a number of companies, and gained some great results. On the surface, most employees really like the idea that their opinions are valued and are therefore prepared to express them openly. The fact that the interviews are confidential enables those with problems and issues to open up without feeling that they are whistle-blowing.

The feedback to the business owner/manager helps to gain a good understanding of what the general feelings of the staff are, often with reassuringly positive results. Any negativity can be identified and dealt with, issues that are just rumbling in the background can be confronted before they become major problems.  Problems that occur amongst an unhappy workforce can seriously impact on productivity, reducing moral and motivation. 

The interviews help identify the effectiveness of those who are relied upon to manage or supervise, identifying training and development needs.  All to often people are promoted to new roles with greater responsibility but without the necessary training to support them, often creating stress and although they perhaps won’t admit it openly, they no longer enjoy their work.

While the business has grown we often find that the growth in leadership skills has not kept pace, if there has been no investment in developing management skills, it is likely that the business owner is the least qualified person for their role in the entire business. A successful business manager needs to be able to manage staff and get the best out of them, understand financial information to help them make the best decisions and the ability to take the business forward with a defined Leadership style. 

If you are not sure where to start but are looking for answers on how to gain a better understanding more enjoyment from running your business and would like to arrange a private and confidential consultation, please contact me by e-mail or telephone on 01603 406794. 


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