Three Qualities Needed to be a Better Boss
30 Book Giveaway!!
30 free copies of Talent Magnet: How to Attract and Keep the Best People
Leave a comment on this guest post by Mark Miller to become eligible to win one of THIRTY complimentary copies of Talent Magnet: How to Attract and Keep the Best People.
*International winners will receive electronic versions.
What attracts Top Talent?
This question spawned the research behind the book Talent Magnet. We knew, if we could look at the world of work from the perspective of Top Talent, we could attract more of them. Here’s the first of our three big findings . . .
Top Talent wants a Better Boss.
Who wants a bad boss? Actually, no one. However, the caliber of the boss is a condition of employment for Top Talent.
A Better Boss is one who is available, engaged, and committed to adding value to everyone he or she leads. Obviously, this is a tall order—but it is critical if you want to attract Top Talent and keep Top Talent.
First, Top Talent wants to work for a leader who sees them as an individual, not just as an employee. They have a story and a life outside of work, and therefore want to be known, listened to, appreciated, and celebrated. They don’t want to feel like a hired hand who merely contributes to the leader’s bottom line.
Second, Top Talent desires access to their leader. They have ideas, experiences, questions, and skills they want to share. They want to make a difference. When leaders allow input, they communicate value. When leaders don’t listen, they kill morale and engagement, causing existing Top Talent to look for the exits, and certainly deterring future stars from joining the organization.
Finally, Top Talent wants to be challenged. They truly love being inspired by a compelling vision, and thrive while pursuing and achieving big goals. They even embrace being held accountable to the highest standards.
Acquiring and keeping Top Talent can become your ultimate competitive advantage. If you truly intend to become a Talent Magnet, start with a decision to be a Better Boss.
What was your best boss like?
How might leaders be better bosses?
Mark Miller is the best-selling author of seven books, an in-demand speaker, and the Vice President of High-Performance Leadership at Chick-fil-A. In his latest book, Talent Magnet: How to Attract and Keep the Best People, Mark reveals the three critical aspects of a true Talent Magnet, and explores the daily implications for leaders.
*Last week’s winners have been notified – Let’s Stop Meeting Like This: Tools to Save Time and Get More Done.
Looks like a great book. Thanks for sharing your wisdom everyday.
Great reminder. Every good boss I have worked for had these three, along with fairness. They did not treat all employees the same, but they demanded the best from everyone equally.
I agree with they want to be challenged, but when compensation is trailing the competition it is a roadblock.
I have to fight the tendency to do this my way. My way isn’t the best. Often, I have some information that is necessary to the best solution (given my 19 years of tenure), but my newer staff have some of the most creative options. If only I can stay out of their way.
All too often we (bosses) fall into the trap that the way WE do things is the best way. I have been through some life and work changing leadership training and have embraced new ideas and those that present them. The employee engagement has been clearly visible. Challenge employees and support them in figuring it out.
People are our greatest competitive advantage. We must invest in them, challenge the and show them how to be their best selves!!
Thanks for your words, would love to read the book!
I am very interested in reading Mark Miller’s new book. My team is top talent and I do look for ways to keep their interests peaked and performance at high levels.
Looks like an interesting read. My best boss was very engaged/present, open to ideas, made everyone feel like they were the best employee and appreciated, supportive of personal development.
I would be very interested in receiving on of the giveaway books. This is certainly a need in our organization and staying on top or ahead would be such an advantage! Thank you for your consideration.
What a great article. Our plant struggles with this every day. I am sharing with my management team in hopes it will spur conversation to improve our teams.
Thanks for the info
Great words and agree absolutely. Thanks for sharing this summary of what seems to be a very good book. I would like to read this book!
Do they also want some flexibility and autonomy on how they get there work done?
I recall reading that the number one reason people leave their job is because of their boss. I could not agree more with your post. To sum up the best bosses I had over the years comes down to one common element the all had, Humility.
In my experience a leader with insecurities has a high probability of demotivating their team.
A quote from the movie “Top Gun”. “Your Ego is writing checks your body can not cash”. To often I find ego gets in the way of high performing teams.
Great stuff, and it most helpful. I will heed this as I feel that the people who work with me can make a tremendous impact on all that we do. Thanks for sharing.
In the Second point, I’m agree to listen individual team partner but is more important take action about this comments, ideas and suggested leads else is like does not hear them
My best boss has regular conversations with me. She is more of a coach who helps me get clarity and accountability. I feel known, needed and that I have a future. She helps me set reasonable and reachable goals. She does not micro manage. I get helpful feedback from her. I feel believed in. She knows my assessments and thinks about how I can use my strengths in my current or potential roles so she is looking to develop me.
Retaining top talent that fits the culture is an important competitive advantage. Dan has written earlier about “top” talent that has a corrosive effect on everything and everyone else in the organization. It’s also important to think about the talent pipeline — not just with succession planning — but with talent across the experience spectrum. Some of the best sources of senior top talent results from grooming and mentoring junior top talent. The principles of retaining top talent remain the same across the experience spectrum, but the scope of challenges, responsibilities, and rewards certainly vary. Valuing people across the talent spectrum creates an inviting and rewarding work environment. Thanks for the great post!
There are days I get really frustrated when the team says we are too busy, we can’t take on any more work. I’ve been working hard to listen and not let my frustration show. Then I get surprised when one of them comes in and says they are going to work on their attitude, try to be more positive. Got to keep listening and making time and talking about the vision that we will succeed as we help others get better.
Great massage! I would love to read more. Great bosses are hard to find.
That is always a challenge in the health care industry when it is so desperate for people. Those are jobs that cannot be safely handled at a high ratio of patients to staff. How do you obtain and retain the best? Becomes even more difficult when even the less desirable staff can go and get a job anywhere. The key is accountability, expect excellence.
I’m striving to be a better “boss” leader daily by l listening more than talking, doing less micromanaging and catching people doing things right and acknowledging them in the moment.
Everything starts and ends with leadership.
Through my 45 years in business, this is one of the few fundamentals that have remained constant.
A better boss starts with self-awareness and valuing of people on their team. Treating people as individuals and not means for advancement or self-promotion. Teaming requires a shared experience that builds bonds that attract people (folks want to work on effective teams) and retains talents as who would want to leave an effective, high functioning team?
Yes this is true. Talent is abundant when the bosses are inspiring. Obviously an environment
with engaged people is truly fun and satisfying. People will want to be a part of the environment and do not even look elsewhere. Be that boss!
Thanks for the publication as it brings this to the forefront regularly because as leaders our batteries need charged too.
Always great thoughts. As a young leader these are great for helping me develop my leadershop style.
So true! We all want a boss who can make us feel his/her passion for his/her vision. Then, the team rises to the challenge to create it.
How true this is, as most people do not leave the job! They leave the boss!
Have seen this played out in the workforce over and over. . . many people say they would stay in a job is they had a different supervisor! Work is effortless and self-potentiating when taking place in a creative, inspirational environment.
Spot on! This is not only about being a good leader for today but also how to grow a crop of good leaders for the future in any organization. That in my opinion is true leadership.
simple, yet oh so important concepts. I especially like this part –“available, engaged, and committed to adding value.” That’s one I am striving for,
I would enjoy reading this book. We are in the process of making our office more professional and want to attract top talent and keep them. To the article, I do not like the term Boss. To me it has negative connotations. I think we need to focus more on being leaders, not only in the day to day operations but we should be looking for opportunities to mentor and help our staff work towards their career goals.
Very true I love the validation
Great reminder that the best Boss is one who helps others reach their full potential. Sure is a lot more fun to lead this way too!! I’m loving my new second have of life approach to setting OTHERS up for SUCCESS!! Thanks for sharing the good stuff Dan!!
Bosses can make a job worthwhile or they, all too easily, can destroy top talent with their actions.
My best supervisor was Alice Bullie. I try very hard to channel her as a supervisor. She was strong, protected us from the chaos, led by example, treated us fairly, was compassionate, apologized when she had bad days and was a very human person first. I left that employment after her retirement because she gave me everything I needed to fly. That was my first job out of graduate school. I’m so thankful that was my first experience and allowed me to endure the not so great supervising moments along the way.
Great insights. Pick me Pick me please 🙂
As a school principal, teacher shortages and turnover are real concerns. Strengthening leadership within schools is definitely something to address when tackling this problem. Thanks for sharing.
Thank you for writing this blog, it has been helpful on my journey.
Top talent wants to be challenged; and along with that they want to be fully empowered. Give top talent clarity about “what” (what are they to accomplish) and give them great freedom and empowerment about “how” (how to achieve the goal based on their gifts and skills).
Being empowered to accomplish all you can and be a driving force is critical. Makes any position wonderful and a reason to give the time to your work. I love all the comments today but this one reiterated my first thoughts about a good leader.
It is so invigorating when one feels respected by a boss. Top talent will join in to make a “good” workplace become a “great” workplace when regard and respect are part of the culture.
I’m so glad to read this. So many times I hear more money and although that sometimes is a piece of it, your supervisor plays so much more of a role in how you feel about your work.
This is a gem. As an HR , I will share these with all line leaders so an enabling environment is created in the organization for our staff to thrive .
Looks like a great book!
I think that a leader needs to be secure enough to celebrate the strengths of the top talent and not tolerate their strengths.
This should be required reading for any supervisor! I have had bosses who embody this naturally, ones who had to work hard to achieve it, and ones who did the polar opposite…the difference in staff productivity, and sheer enjoyment at work between the best bosses vs. the worst bosses was staggering!
Nice piece. I dedicate fifteen minutes to leadership each day, and this time begins with Leadership Freak. Today’s article causes me to look at myself and question if I am the type of boss that attracts the best candidates. I will spend some time in reflection due to today’s article.
I couldn’t agree more, and would love to read on! Thank you for all of your helpful insights!
Yes! These and more are what I strive to be every day in the workplace, in ministry, at home. Thank you!
It’s even more important to be a “better boss” when you trying to attract the best volunteers! As the leader of a nonprofit with a small staff but many volunteers i must be a dynamic and approachable leader. I’d love to hear more about being a “better boss” to volunteers! Great read this am
It’s a really good reminder: “what was your best boss like?” While we all have to develop our own styles and make sure we’re authentic, I have in the past emulated my best bosses: calm, supportive, teacher, clear expectation, give autonomy and responsibility, “catch ’em being okay.” Funny how “life” gets in the way and I revert to my old habits giving answers before understanding problems or jumping in when I should step back.
Top talent appreciates a good boss– thanks for the inspiration and roadmap
This book is exactly what I need to continue developing as a good leader. I currently have one of the best bosses I have ever worked for as he develops me not only as an employee but also as a caring person. One of the most important skills he’s taught me is valuing people. When your employees feel valued, they’ll do just about anything (within reason) you ask them and with their whole heart and soul. This is why I now love what I do and give 110% each and every day because I feel respected, trusted, valued.
The best bosses I have had simply “care”.
As someone just entering leadership roles in my organization (health care) these points all resonate with me both in thinking back on how I’ve viewed my bosses, and how I want to lead my colleagues. Other commenters have mentioned self-awareness and empathy, which I think are foundational to good leadership. My best bosses could always inspire me through our authentic connection and relationship, while the worst ones treated me like a cog in their machine. As a leader now, I want to continue to build relationships within my team, but I also want (need!) to hear my team’s ideas because I have quickly realized that it is lonely at the top and I don’t always have the right answer to the problems our team faces.
Tall order but so true. Thank you for this helpful information. Definitely food for thought.
Last week I visited the new college football Hall of Fame in Atlanta. A display that especially caught my attention highlighted the evolution of the various offensive schemes in college football. The single wing, I-formation, Wishbone, Triple option, Spread etc. In the 1950’s, Peter Drucker began the conversation about knowledge-workers and further expanded upon the idea into the late nineties. As I read the above comments, it struck me how much Taylorism still influences our work environments. The same way college football offenses are impacted by approaches originating back in the early 1900’s. In football, winning dictated the evolution of the offenses. Winning in business is a combination of satisfied customers, productivity, quality, financial results etc. Designing the “scheme” that enables knowledge workers to deliver their best and highest performance requires breaking free from the influences of Taylorism. Unfortunately, college football has regressed to having coaches call every play and has left quarterbacks in the position of merely “doing what they’re told” resulting in a very small percentage of college quarterbacks making the leap to the “next level.” A high performing, knowledge-worker environment is the new business holy grail. Bosses capable of creating this will be the new superstars.
Your blog is part of my daily routine! Thank you for everything you do.
Retaining great talent is an ongoing process, and as the research shows, it’s not about the money, but the result of open communication, commonality sharing, rewards that are meaningful to the recipient, and respect. When bosses treat their employees as the individuals that they are, long lasting and loyal employees they keep.
Great post! I am a new ‘boss’ and work hard to gain the trust and respect of my team. Love your posts.
The suggestions are spot on. There are quiet contributors in organizations and those contributors do not need to be overlooked. Sometimes these people can be easily left out. I’m looking forward to reading Talent Magnet.
I try to keep these principles in mind every day. I work with high achieving college students and these are the principles that help me keep my “superstars” engaged and retained. I would love to have a copy of the book, seems like a must have!
Excellent Advice! Thank you for the opportunity for a chance to win a copy of the book.
My best boss not only challenged me, but entrusted me with responsibilities and gave me freedom to fail. Trust and freedom was freeing.
Such great thoughts! Would love to learn more and read the book!
Makes sense. Common leadership skills. Thanks.
This is a great point! If an employee enjoys work for/with their boss and feels they are being challenged enough, they will feel much more fulfilled in their role and be willing to stay. What a wonderful read!
This article is on point! As I read through the article it spoke to me on how I like to be treated.
I read your post every morning on my commute to work and it gives me a positive start for my day. I’d like to get the copy of the free book! Thank you.
I read your post everyday on my commute to work and it gives me a fresh start of the day. I’d like to receive a free copy of the book. Thank you.
I always listen and try to make the individuals that work with me and for me feel important.
This is a great post. One of the most overlooked pieces of management is seeing folks as individuals and getting at their true dreams and desires for who they are, not just as someone who does something for you. Thanks for this post!
Great post! Hoping a win a copy of the book! 🙂
Great points. Employee retention is so critical to sustained success and in today’s job market is harder than ever!
Interesting! I would be interested in hearing more about the statistics of keeping top talent when the salary is not as competitive as other jobs in the market. Is that as relevant to a decision to leave a company or if someone feels valued they will stay even if the pay is not as competitive? How much do people base their salary on their value?
I’ve only had a few great bosses and I have tried to emulate them. I would like to learn more about this and become a better leader.
Thanks Dan for the taste, Employee turnover is such a huge challenge and helping managers and upper administration take accountability is difficult. It is hard to change our sight to see that we/I could be the problem, and I can do something about it..
I would love to read more.
timely words as I embark on my development in this regard
I like that this doesn’t say you have to be a perfect boss. In fact, I think there’s a compelling challenge in helping your boss be better. I like working in an organization where some things function well, but there’s room for improvement. It leaves room for creativity.
It’s amazing just three things. And the funny part they Sean to forget it. Multistage planning implementation. But the result are the opposite. ONE, TWO, THREE keep it easy the employees like to be drivers no be driven
Thank you for the insight. Thank you for the chance to win a copy of the book.
I live the part about seeing your employees as individuals! Couldn’t agree more.
As an economics teacher, I like the idea that attracting talent might be one’s comparative advantage – but that’s one that can be learned.
Looks like a great book!
Attracting top talent is very important to improving your organization. I like the part about the leader knowing their people by knowing about outside interest, families, etc…Leaders need to be personable with the people they lead, show interest and show they care. In addition to that, as a leader, I believe it’s important for the people we lead to see our outside interest and know and understand that we are people too.
My best bosses were/are servant leaders. They acknowledged and encouraged our self-development, learning and even making mistakes in the learning process. They would pitch in with projects that needed some extra help, no matter how elevated or basic the need – even cleaning up tables after a luncheon meeting! They admitted their own mistakes and asked us for feedback on their leadership. And every one of them had a great sense of humor!
My best boss fit all three of these qualities! He not only WAS all three of these for me, he mentored those qualities in me, and purposefully guided me to develop those characteristics into my own leadership abilities and opportunities! Great stuff!
I’m good and 1 & 2, but could use some tips with 3. Looking forward to reading it!
I would love a book!!
A Great Post! I believe that to be a leader who attracts top talent you yourself have to be top talent and work developing your skills and the skills of those you work with everyday Our success made or broken by the people we work with and our relationships with them .Dr William Glasser once told me “John,It is all relationships”.
I have a leadership in-service in two hours and I will be sharing these thoughts
A great post. I am always dealing with retention issues. As a public employer it is difficult to retain top talent. This book looks very interesting.
How to maintain, attain, and retain top talent stems from the leadership and guidance provided. Leadership matters. I can definitely improve and gain some insight. Thanks for sharing.
In this day and age, any help is better than none! Right now the building trades are in deep need of and keeping qualified individuals.
So send them to us!
Have a great day, truly sounds like an interesting read.
Great tips. Thanks, Dan.
Great reminders. I’m going to send this to all my direct reports and ask each what I’m doing right and how I can do better. Thanks!
I don’t think I made the 30 cut off but I am the Director of Athletics and run a team of coaches that then coach their teams. I read the blog daily and appreciate all the tips you provide!
I connect the 3 attractors of top talent to a few different ideas and concepts.
(from 3 Signs of a Miserable Job, and Drive – and most likely many other sources as well)
The First point relates to Anonymity and also connects to Autonomy. We have a desire to be individuals, be part of something bigger and have a contributing role, more than just “feel(ing) like a hired hand who merely contributes to the leader’s bottom line.”
The Second point brings in part of the concepts of Immeasurement and Mastery – not only knowing that you are making a difference, but working for a boss that also wants to make a difference. I’d say Top talent people want top talent bosses.
The Third point ties in the concepts of Purpose and Irrelevance. Being inspired by a compelling vision, to be able to achieve what has been set out to achieve. Accomplishment and accountability help drive pride in our work and the shared results.
I hypothesize about a connection between those identified as top talent and how they see their jobs.
Does “top talent” exist in roles where people feel they may not be able to get a different job? The “I work because I have to” type of mentality.
Or, does “top talent” have more of a growth mindset along the lines of “I work because I want to”? This mentality gives you the freedom to say “I want a top talent boss, and if I don’t get one I have the ability and confidence to know I can go get one.”
Not feeling trapped by your situation gives you many options to raise your expectations of the others around you. How much of a role does that play into this?
As always, I enjoy the thoughts you fire up in me with your posts.
My best boss made me feel cared for and appreciated. He stopped in to see me, talk to me, ask how things are going, asked how he could help, etc. In fact, I knew the days when he wasn’t at work because i wouldn’t see him or hear from him on those days! A terrific role model and mentor, he instill in me that if I work hard for my employees, they will work hard for the company. Everyone wins.
I have entered a work environment where the staff did not trust leadership – with a new leadership team we have worked hard to develop shared beliefs and understandings and make sure that everything we do it about our core business and is transparent and consistent. We are building on the concept that where we work will be where the best practitioners will also want to work.
I would welcome the opportunity to receive a copy of the book. It would be helpful not only in the formal workplace, but in other leadership scenarios outside of work.
Knowing how to keep a talented group of people is nothing short of difficult if you don’t possess the right leadership characteristics. I’ve worked for one of the ABSOLUTE best principals and since she has moved up the ladder, I now work for one of the worst. As a small business owner with 32 employee’s, I’ve followed by her example and they have been with me for seven years. There is ALWAYS more to learn as time changes!
One of the challenges of this concept in a large hierarchical organisation is to keep your top talent motivated at entry level when their ideas have to bubble up through many people in order to be heard. Often when they join they don’t yet have the right words to express what might work and junior managers can be your undoing if you don’t have the right people to encourage that innovative type of thinking.
We’ve all heard the expression about having two ears and only one mouth, so we should listen twice as much as we speak. This is especially important for leaders. Talent quickly becomes demotivated and disengaged when they don’t feel they have a voice.
I especially like point #2. When I was an employee I wanted to be acknowledged as an individual and not just a means to an end. Now that I’m a boss, I will strive to notice each person for who they are and not just what they can do for me.
Great Tips! Thanks for sharing, from Guatemala, following Leadershipfreak´s blog.
Good managers and Leaders have the knowledge and training on how to attract and keep top talent.
Mediocre managers and Leaders can become better at what they do through training.
Great bosses can be in short supply so a guide to getting right makes essential reading. Best bosses don’t just treat their employees like equals, they truly believe it and behave accordingly. Acting authentic misses the point!
So many bosses look at what’s wrong with the process were wrong with the candidates without looking at what they can do themselves to attract better talent. If more Bosses were willing to do the steps necessary they could literally transform their company attracting talent and having a better culture with which to succeed.
This is spot on. I’ve currently been experiencing the opposite of this and it’s true, I’ve been looking for exits. Things are possibly changing though working for another guy at our company who has a growth mindset and values me as a member of the team.
This is some great perspective on an important topic. How can we expect more from our people without setting high standards for ourselves? It becomes demotivating and demoralizing to constantly be asked to go above and beyond, being told that “it’s your job”, while you observe your supervisor doing the minimum.
I think that it has become common knowledge that the new generation in the workforce desires more than just a paycheck. The opportunity for growth and impact are huge motivators and an area where some leaders fail to connect with their teams. When harnessed properly, these teams can flourish, but leadership throughout the workforce has to change the mentalities of the past.
An old TED Talk came to mind, reading on this topic. Roselinde Torres spoke on ‘What it Takes to be a Great Leader’ back in 2013. It’s a great presentation, only about 10 minutes long. Definitely worth the watch. Her three main questions for leaders that want to become great that were fantastic for self-reflection and needed perspective, but my favorite quote from her is “Great leaders prepare themselves for the realities of today and the unknown possibilities of tomorrow, not the comfortable predictability of yesterday.”
Roselinde Torres Ted Talk – https://www.ted.com/talks/roselinde_torres_what_it_takes_to_be_a_great_leader
The point being that as leaders, to build strong teams, we’ve got to continue to grow with our people and not get caught in the trapping mindset of “This is the way we’ve always done it.” This mindset will only alienate the group of Top Talent that we need to keep.
I like to focus on the outcome and let employees find the best way to get there.
Not only getting and keeping great talent but also making sure their in the right job…..right seat on the bus is critical. Have and outstanding employee but a change in duties and a change in responsibilities at times does not work out.
The key is to learn from all your bosses…. I have had good ones and bad ones… I’ve learned from both..
Pick me for the book…..please!!!!
Best bosses are ones that care about their people. They can be trusted. They do not ask things of their followers that they are not willing to do themselves. They are role models and tour guides rather than travel agents.
I’ve been blessed with several great bosses. They trusted me. They asked about my life, my opinions and my dreams. They did not roadblock me and gave me a peek behind the curtain every chance they could. One of the best showed me there is no way to do it all and that it is ok to be human. They also reminded me to give myself some grace. I try to model what I learned from them. We are definitely in a Talent War! As an HR professional, I would LOVE this resource in my Toolkit :).
This book is right up my professional alley! I am very interested in reading more! Thank you!
I am committing time each week to improve upon my leading skills to give my team the best version of myself! I would love to incorporate this book into my tool kit!!
Looking forward to reading this book. I love all of your books and enjoy sharing with my team.
Thank you for sharing your words every day. I like to get a copy of the book.
Thanks for sharing these strong reminders and principles whereby when we focus on giving of ourselves to add value to others, besides making others better–it also comes back around to benefit us by providing loyal and hard-working employees.
I see a lot of instances where bad bosses drive away good folks, and I see instances where a lot of my peers of the 20s and 30s age don’t see opportunities to become a boss, so they leave their jobs and sometimes, their current industries to seek the opportunity to lead. Leadership is one of those things that you must do to develop. Reading and growing that way can only take you so far, and you must apply the principals to grow as a leader. Bad bosses and lack of opportunities are both good ways to drive away talent.
I know this is too late but ill comment anyways and you never know ☺
Good boss knows when to support, when to demand and when to ask for support.
Great book for aspiring Leaders.
I love the concept of being a magnet. It turns the typical complaint of not being able to find good people on it’s head and says be the kind of leader good people find and desire to work with.
I struggle with what to do with the “not-so-top-talent” and balancing my time between leading them to successful performance while meeting the needs of my top talent.
Do your employees consider you a boss who provides them with the opportunites to excel and grow?
I’m twenty years into my career and I’ve never really had a forward thinking boss. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve had good bosses and individuals I respected. But no one that understood collectively we need to change with the times in order to excel in our work. I truly love that there is a new and innovative group of individuals like Mark that are leading the movement!
Ouch this article is the bomb. Very insightful.
Please send me the giveaway book..how to attract and keep the best people.