Management Essentials: Becoming a Better Boss (Part 2)

Category: Uncategorized

By John Lacey

Read Part 1

This two-part series on management essentials tackles important questions about culture, motivation, recognition and trust in hopes of providing honest insight and tangible tips to help managers create productive and rewarding work environments.

What’s the best workplace culture for employees? How can managers ignite motivation, reward achievements and form a true team? In effect, what are the great management practices?
Part 1 of For Your Benefit’s guide to “Becoming a Better Boss,” summarized feedback from eight managers recommended by their colleagues for their leadership abilities, and a common theme emerged—empower employees.

Part 2 of “Becoming a Better Boss” gives a voice to the employee perspective and summarizes interviews conducted with eight employees from across the UT System

The “Big Question”

What do employees want from management?

When it comes to managing people, leaders need to be fair, honest, flexible and exhibit integrity. Gone is the old-fashioned philosophy that employees should work hard so their managers can be successful. Employees should be recognized for what they are—the organization’s most valuable assets. Managers need to stand with employees and place a greater emphasis on their success. And most importantly, managers must be human—allow for mistakes, create an open and honest atmosphere and develop relationships and trust.


“I like a manager to have a sense of humor combined with a winning attitude. Those two key elements, in any individual, speak volumes.”


  • Senior Administrative Services Assistant, College of Medicine Admissions, UT Health Science Center
  • 25 years at UT


Build a Team

When it comes to collaboration, managers need to listen and share information required to make good decisions. Isolating employees from the decision process leads to limited effectiveness and wasted time.

According to Bonnie Daniel from UT Martin, a coaching approach to supervision works well. Connect with your team. Understand where they are in their individual development. Deliver clear and useful information to help team members be successful. It’s also important to explain the team’s goals and how each member can contribute.

“A great boss is someone who educates and mentors people. A great boss will have built a cohesive team that needs very little ‘management’.”


  • IT Technologist, Walker Center for Teaching and Learning, UT Chattanooga
  • 7 years at UT
“Employees want to feel they are part of a cooperative effort,” said Brad Harris, a finance consultant with the Institute for Public Service. “They need to know their work makes a difference.”

Motivate and Recognize

In an open and honest work environment, sharing constructive feedback and seeing others challenging themselves or taking on new responsibilities is rewarding. Managers can set the tone by giving employees the opportunity to take some risks, even if the chance of failure is high. At the end of the day, managers need to recognize the efforts of their employees—win or lose. This can be something as simple as saying “job well done” or a more public display of appreciation. The empowerment and recognition formula is the magic that allows for dynamic teams to develop and grow.

Praise, recognition, compliments and special opportunities are great motivators.”


  • Senior Electrician, Construction and Design, UT Knoxville
  • 7 years at UT


To read Part 1 of “Becoming a Better Boss,” debuted in fall 2013, visit