What makes a boss "good"

Pose this question to more than one person, and you are bound to get different responses. Despite this, there are a number of skills, strategies and attitudes that are common to all good bosses.

Here are five "good boss" behaviours taken from my book, How To Manage Unacceptable Employee Behaviour: A Guide To Creating Cooperation, Restoring Productivity And Getting Positive Results:

1. Act consistently

Employees expect managers to treat everyone fairly. Don't confuse treating everyone fairly with treating everyone in the same way. It actually means acting consistently and applying flexibility with everyone.

For example, if you bend the rules for one employee due to a special situation, you must act consistently when a similar situation occurs with a different employee. This creates a perception of fairness.

2. Answer the "why" questions

When employees do not know what to do or why they should do something, the manager is at fault. Your job is to help employees understand the big picture and how their jobs fit into the larger goals of the organisation.

Show them why their tasks are important. Employees want to know how their actions make a difference. Do your employees understand why it is important to do their jobs correctly?

3. Make a connection

Managing people is about connecting with them. Managers must engage their employees' hearts to get them to commit and contribute their best.

That means showing concern for them, listening to their ideas and opinions, involving them in problem-solving and letting them know they are important. Without manpower, even the best-laid plans are ineffective.

4. Praise progress

Praise is the most effective form of feedback and a powerful motivator. Employees want to be recognised when they do something well. Give due recognition where it is due; do not just point out their poor performance.

Make a habit of acknowledging what employees do right recognise positive performance, hard work and improvement. Reinforced behaviour becomes repeated behaviour.

5. Leave no room for surprises

For many managers, performance discussions take place once a year. This is a big mistake. Why? Because successful appraisals involve ongoing dialogue.

Start with clear goals and expectations, provide constructive feedback along the way and end with a two-way conversation. Keep your feedback consistent with what you have said all year.

When the performance appraisal contradicts previous feedback, employees will be surprised. They will also resist accountability, argue over your feedback and resent the review process.

Great leaders are made, not born. To develop your leadership potential, attend management classes and seminars, read books on effective leadership and hire a coach to help you push your limits.