Leadership

6 things you should give up if you want to be a great boss

Being an effective manager is no easy feat. Being effective and well-liked is even harder. But it's important to try: A Gallup study found that about half of workers quit because of a bad boss.

Oftentimes, it's not only what you do every day, but also what you don't do that defines your leadership. Career expert Amanda Augustine of TopResume says managers should give up the following six things to be truly great.

Amy Poehler as Leslie Knope and Nick Offerman as Ron Swanson talking during a scene of "Parks and Recreation."
NBC Universal/Getty Images
Amy Poehler as Leslie Knope and Nick Offerman as Ron Swanson talking during a scene of "Parks and Recreation."

Getting caught in the weeds

Don't micromanage.

"Often managers are promoted because of their excellent work and results as an individual contributor to the team. While these skills will still serve you well as a manager, you have to learn when to take a step back and trust the competence of your team," Augustine tells CNBC. "You hired, trained and continue to manage these people for a reason — let them do their jobs."

"It can certainly be tempting to get lost in the details of your team's work, especially if you enjoy that discipline and genuinely find it interesting," she explains. "However, don't get so wrapped up in the little details that you neglect your management duties, such as setting the strategy and developing your people, and delay a project because you just can't let go."

Always saying yes

Augustine recommends managers stop agreeing to every idea pitched to them by their employees.

"Great leadership isn't just about the projects you agree to spearhead; it's also about the ones you decide not to pursue," she says. "Before you immediately agree to another initiative for your team to tackle, make sure it's feasible and good for the company's business goals.

"Don't fall into the trap of saying yes to everything. It's all right to say no sometimes — and your team will thank you for it."

Complaining

"Regardless of if you wholeheartedly agree with a decision the management team has made, once the decision is reached," explains Augustine, "it's your job to support the decision when you share it with your direct reports."

"It doesn't help you to complain about the management team and undermine your boss' work to the team you oversee." -Amanda Augustine, career expert

"It doesn't help you to complain about the management team and undermine your boss' work to the team you oversee. Instead, show that the management team is operating as a unified front and make sure you're communicating the information similarly as your peers and boss," she says.

She gives the same advice for bosses unhappy with a colleague's work. "There's a time and a place for those conversations," Augustine says, "but it's not to your direct reports, nor in front of your entire team, especially when the other party isn't there to defend their actions."

Insisting on perfection

"Nobody does something perfectly the first time they try it. Or, at least, it's very rare," says Augustine. "If you truly want to develop your team, you need to provide them with opportunities to step outside of their comfort zones and push themselves."

Instead, provide your team with "growth opportunities," she says, so that they learn to perform tasks with greater care in the future.

"Don't be so obsessed with 'perfect' that you prevent your team from getting better," Augustine says. "Sometimes, 'good' is good enough."

Forgetting to say thank you

Courtesy counts.

"As a manager, it's no longer all about you. Great leaders take joy in providing their direct reports with opportunities to shine," she writes. "If they worked hard on a project, make sure their peers are aware, and give credit where credit's due."

"As a manager, it's no longer all about you." -Amanda Augustine, career expert

A good boss isn't so concerned with individual accomplishments as they are with the team's performance. "Now, it's about what you empower your team to achieve under your leadership," Augustine says.

Providing only negative feedback — or none at all

"No one likes to have difficult conversations with an employee. Whether it was inappropriate behavior at a company event or the inability to meet deadlines, it's important to provide this invaluable feedback to your team," she says.

The solution: "Be sure to let a direct report know when they've done or said something that's damaging to their career, as well as reinforce their good decisions when they've done something right," writes Augustine. "Most importantly, make sure you provide the feedback in a timely manner and in a place where your conversation can be kept private."

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