iStock_000012107904XSmallReactions to the firing of Rutgers University’s head men’s basketball coach has certainly made headlines recently. Video of the coach shoving & berating players, yelling obscenities, and throwing basketballs at players during practices surfaced in November. It took university administrators five months to decide that the coach’s actions merited his firing; that occurred only after the video was leaked to ESPN and shown on national television.

The athletic director resigned as part of the fallout over the coach’s aggressive treatment of players.

University president Robert Barchi characterized Rice’s behavior as “deeply offensive” and violated the university’s values. There may well be formal statements of university values somewhere but they are not found on the university’s web site. That’s a missed opportunity. When values are formalized and defined in behavioral terms, it is easy for organization members to praise aligned behavior and raise questions about mis-aligned behavior.

The Rutgers’ mens basketball coach was clearly not a great boss to these players. Great bosses create and maintain a safe, inspiring work environment where talented, engaged employees THRIVE.

My experience and research indicates that GREAT Bosses manage these five things consistently well:

Great bosses create avenues for team members to learn new approaches, develop new skills, and gain confidence to put those skills into action in the workplace.
Great bosses know that positive relationships based on shared values create mutual trust and respect in the workplace. They create and maintain positive relationships with team members and expect the same among team members.
Great bosses set clear performance expectations and coach team members to exceed them, every time. High standards met consistently help differentiate the team’s contribution to the company and to their customers.
Great bosses know that consequence management is the avenue to high performing, values-aligned teams. They praise and encourage progress & accomplishment of both goals and valued behaviors. They redirect and, if needed, reprimand, values mis-aligned behaviors and missed performance standards.
Great bosses know that cooperative interaction among team members maintains trust and respect more than competitive interaction does. They create norms that enable sharing of information, skills, and support across their team.

What “great boss” behaviors am I missing? What does (or did) your Great Boss do to create and maintain a safe, inspiring work environment for you and your peers?

I’m building a GREAT Boss assessment based upon this conceptual model. I’d love your feedback on these five elements. Please join in the conversation about this post/podcast in the comments section below.

What is it like to live in your organization’s culture? Share your experiences in my fast & free Performance-Values Assessment. Results and analysis are described on my blog site’s research page.

This research can help you refine your organization’s corporate culture. Contact me to discuss conducting the Performance-Values Assessment in your company.

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S. Chris Edmonds

S. Chris Edmonds

Chris helps leaders create purposeful, positive, productive work cultures. He's a speaker, author, and executive consultant. He blogs, podcasts, and video casts. He is the author of The Culture Engine and six other books.
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