How To Be A Great Boss — Part 1

Dan Sullivan
5 min readAug 26, 2022

Five ways to make great people want to work for you.

Many entrepreneurs find the challenge of keeping great team members happy and engaged intimidating. What they don’t realize is that they already have the skills to overcome this challenge: Many of the same talents you’ve used to develop fruitful, long-term relationships with clients and customers can also create an environment your team members will love to work in.

The lure of opportunity.

Your best and most loyal clients and customers value the relationship they have with you because it creates an opportunity for them that doesn’t exist anywhere else. Dealing with you gives them direction, confidence, and capability: value that isn’t easy to find elsewhere. Your ability to sell them on this idea, and then deliver on the promise, is the essence of what keeps your business healthy and growing.

Team members, like clients, are also looking for opportunity. Good people have the luxury of being able to shop around for the workplace that offers the best environment for growth and rewards. Providing this will keep your most valued team members engaged and committed. So how do you create a workplace full of opportunity for your team? The five criteria we have identified are: utilize, appreciate, reward, enhance, and refer. Below are things you can do in each of these five areas that will have your team members talking about what a great boss you are and how much they enjoy working within your company.

1. Utilize their Unique Ability®.

Like you, team members love to do what they’re good at and have passion for. It’s fulfilling to find work that’s interesting and engaging and that allows you to be successful. Utilizing each team member’s Unique Ability means focusing them on the things they’re great at while also freeing them up from activities where they fall short. To accomplish this balance, they can trade activities with someone better at that activity, or someone can be hired to support them. The more you leverage their Unique Ability, the more they’ll contribute to your business.

2. Appreciate their contributions.

Most employers, entrepreneurs included, have no idea how much appreciation means to team members. Paying for performance in the form of a salary, while it shows appreciation in the monetary sense, isn’t enough to let your team know how much you appreciate them. The danger is that when people feel undervalued, or like they’re being taken for granted, it’s much more likely that they’ll leave. It’s reassuring and nourishing for team members to hear others say that what they do really does matter. Praise and appreciation, even if it’s just saying thank you, are as significant as, or even more so, than compensation. If team members are paid fairly but don’t feel valued, they may leave for emotionally greener pastures. Appreciation costs little and goes a long way toward keeping your best people on board.

3. Reward them financially.

Financial reward will always factor into the equation no matter how fulfilling the role may be in other ways. Paying people what they’re worth, or even slightly more, is a fundamental way to show your appreciation. Giving team members income-increasing opportunities based on improved results, and the company achieving its goals, is another way to recognize their work. Well-designed bonus plans and commission structures offer your best employees a way to share in the wealth that they help create for the company, letting them know they’re appreciated for their contributions. Given the high cost of replacing good people, it makes sense to fairly compensate the great ones you already have.

4. Enhance their capabilities.

Everyone values the opportunity to improve and grow in areas they’re already skilled at and passionate about. Growth-oriented people are vital to have on your team because, as they learn, they’ll bring new capabilities and wisdom to your company. The flip side to this, however, is that you have to provide them with new opportunities to satisfy their need to grow or they’ll leave to find new challenges elsewhere. When someone is really great at their job, it can be tempting to keep them from evolving into another role. But weigh this against the possibility of losing them altogether and it’s clear that the better option is to allow them to grow inside your company, as long as your goals and budget can accommodate it.

5. Refer them.

Your best team members have unique capabilities and wisdom that can benefit others. A referral is the ultimate indication that you value and support the development of this expertise. Referring a team member within your company may be as simple as directing another team member to them for advice or mentorship. It could also mean sharing your appreciation of their capabilities and contribution with your clients or customers, and even re-directing clients to speak directly to a particular team member with questions that fall into that person’s area of expertise. Team members appreciate recognition for what they do well and are happy to use their Unique Ability and knowledge to create value, both within the company and for your clientele. Referrals from you enable them to contribute in this way.

Building these five elements into how you work with your team will help your best team members feel valued and supported. Their performance and commitment to you will be strengthened as you demonstrate, through your actions, that you’re also committed to creating opportunity for them.

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I hope this article triggered some new ideas, projects, initiatives, and thinking for you and your business. Let me know that you liked it by clicking the thumbs up icon above.

Thanks for reading,


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Dan Sullivan

World’s foremost expert on entrepreneurship in action. Co-founder and President of The Strategic Coach Inc. Find out more: