The Best Bosses Know These Secrets, Do You?

Written by
George Dickson
George Dickson

Employee engagement is dismally low — just 13 percent, according to a global Gallup poll in 2012. The best bosses aren't suffering from a poorly engaged workforce, though. Want to know their secrets to keeping employees engaged? Here are five we recently shared with Entrepreneur:

1. Annual rewards aren't effective motivators.

Rewards are useful, but are woefully inadequate alone. Increasing the size only makes this mistake more costly. You'll see better results by including regular rewards as part of larger ecosystem of support. Empower your team with a shared vision and the recognition, feedback, and tools they need to help achieve it.

2. Micromanagement wastes everyone's time.

Want a more engaged workforce? Stop hovering over your team. Give employees direction and access to any required resources, but let them handle it from there. When mistakes happen (and they will), consider it a teachable moment—not just for the employee, but for leadership as well.

3. Rigid hierarchies are often counter-productive.

Hierarchy isn't conducive to building trust and camaraderie. The limitations of rank stifle both leaders, and their team. The best bosses take a collaborative approach and welcome questions, input, ideas, and other contributions from their team members.

4. Work-life balance is possible — and beneficial.

Unlimited PTO, flexible schedules, and remote work arrangements are on the rise, helping employees to better manage their work and personal lives. The best bosses realize that time behind the office desk doesn't always translate into productivity. Recognize and reward employee achievements; not how much time they spend in their chair.

5. Timeliness matters.

Whether in need of information, feedback, or a response to a time-off request, employees expect timeliness. Information needs to be immediately accessible to help workers learn how to improve faster. In addition to that, the timeliness of your own communication is crucial — especially when it comes to giving feedback. The sooner your team members know where they excel and where they can improve, the better.

Try implementing a few of these techniques with genuine effort — you won't be disappointed with the results.

Originally published on March 18, 2015 → Last updated April 1, 2019

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George Dickson

George is dedicated to strengthening organizational cultures with thoughtful leadership and frequent recognition. George formerly managed content and community at Bonusly.


Bonusly is a fun, personal employee recognition and rewards program that helps people feel engaged and successful at work. ✨