In the past decade, Shark Tank stars Lori Greiner and Robert Herjavec have become public figures thanks to their business and leadership skills. According to Greiner, however, being a boss is no easy task, as bosses need to find the balance between firmness and gentleness, authority and availability. So, what is the secret to being a great leader? In a recent interview with Kim Lachance Shandrow from Entrepreneur, Greiner and Herjavec characterized a top-notch boss.
A great boss is compassionate
“A great boss is compassionate and listens,” says Greiner, who founded her own consumer goods business in 1996 and eventually became boss of several employees. “She isn’t afraid to be frank, direct and honest and give direction, but in a mindful way that’s considerate of her employees’ feelings, so that they’re not just told and ordered around.”
Herjavec, the founder and CEO of cyber security company Herjavec Group, seconds that. When it comes to leadership, he agrees with Greiner’s philosophies and states that bosses should be firm yet kind and considerate — but only to a point.
A great boss exhibits leadership
Greiner also explains that good bosses find the right distance between themselves and their employees. She warns that hovering is never a good idea, but believes that being available is a demonstration of leadership and engagement. “Whatever you do, don’t stay up in a stuffy office away from your people. Show leadership by example. Get right in there, side by side with your employees. Get hands-on and show them there’s no task beneath you,” she says.
A great boss knows the employees
According to Greiner, another essential aspect of leadership is getting to know your employees on a personal level. Even though this can be seen as unprofessional, she says that knowing what employees care about is vital to the boss-subordinate relationship. Leaders need to see the employees as workers, but also care about them as individual people.
A great boss has limits
Finally, Herjavec explains the importance of being a nice boss but not letting employees cross the limits. “As I tell them, I’m a great guy to work for 98 percent of the time, but the other 2 percent of the time, you’re going to do it my way and that’s it,” he says. “A great boss is kind, but you have to be strong, too. You can’t be a pushover.”