Leading a business is a tough job. You are responsible for overseeing all business operations. While you might know your management style and how your employees work best under your guidance, how do you know if you are actually a great boss?

The answer is not simple. Dependant on your industry, the size of your organisation and personal opinions, being labelled a ‘great boss’ could mean different things. However, there are some generally accepted qualities of great leaders.

1. Honesty and Integrity

You need to know what your values are and live them. Leading with honesty and integrity means setting the example that you want your employees to follow. Honest conversations that add value to the business and your employees. A commitment to work practices that you want all your staff to follow shows that you have the integrity to lead. Answering questions with answers based on facts and a policy of transparency ensures that you are a leader who is respected.

2. Confidence

Your confidence flows from you to your employees. Dress well, hold yourself high, and allow yourself to be an assertive leader. When you have an air of confidence based on the knowledge that you are a person worthy of your business, you will inspire those who work for you. Some people are naturally confident, others need to work on it, but if you are a business leader, you must cultivate confidence that invites others to respect you.

3. Inspire Others

How do you inspire others? By being the calm in the storm. When things are manic, be the leader who is delegating in a calm manner. Be the leader who gives directions. Be the leader who listens. A strong leader sets an example for others to follow, knows the path that the business is taking and makes sure that everyone knows what their role is on the journey.

4. Commitment and Passion

You need to be self-motivated. Your passion for your business should be self-evident. You cannot expect others to devote themselves to their work if you aren’t interested in yourself.

5. Good Communicator

Communication is more than talking; it is listening, inspiring and motivating others. Communication skills are essential in any sized business, and a great boss knows how to use theirs to their full potential. Real emotional intelligence and communication skills mean that you can congratulate people for a job well done, or guide people towards their full potential. You are able to switch between friendly interaction and boss with ease. You are able to discuss sensitive issues with employees without intimidation or accusation. It is a huge ask, but as a leader, it’s your responsibility to understand how to communicate with staff, clients and B2B partners.

6. Decision-Making Capabilities

Making the right decision at the right time requires a gamble. Some people have a vision for the future and are great at predicting outcomes based on experience, research and intuition. A great boss uses all these skills, plus a sense of commitment, to drive decisions. They understand their responsibilities to stakeholders and employees and make considered decisions that serve in the best interests of all parties involved.

7. Accountability

Being accountable means not only owning your own accomplishments and mistakes but also guiding your employees through their accomplishments and mistakes. It is important that you as a leader are aware of the work of those around you. You need to be ready to praise or guide your employees, from management to support levels.

8. Delegation and Empowerment

Micromanaging a business is not the way to lead. Your employees should have the skills and confidence to work autonomously. You empower your employees by delegating tasks and allow your team/s to work on those tasks without micromanagement. Oversight of day to day tasks should be done by management, while overall business operations should be your main concern.

9. Creativity and Innovation

You need to be creative to stay ahead of the curve. Great innovation does not happen in the hands and mind of one person, but the collaboration of team players who are inspired to share ideas, push development and challenge the industry. Great leaders are always searching for ways to be creative and innovative in ways that support the goals of the business.

10. Empathy

Empathetic leaders listen. Making yourself available to your staff can be a challenge, however, having empathy for your employees is easy, it just means getting your hands dirty. Know the tasks of your employees. Understand why their roles can be challenging at times without the right tools, skills or support networks. Know that your employees are human, and make some allowances for the needs of real life. An empathetic leader understands that we all make mistakes, we all have needs and we are all under pressure. You will open the door for your employees to be their best.