What makes a good boss? Strong leadership skills, charisma, compassion and the ability to inspire are all important qualities for bosses to have — and, of course, generosity.
Good bosses know that livable salaries, quality benefits and an open, comfortable and motivating company culture are all key to keeping employees satisfied at their jobs. But great bosses are willing to go above and beyond to support their employees in times of need, or give back when they can.
From fighting to save dozens of workers' jobs to paying struggling employees' medical expenses, these generous bosses' stories are sure to inspire you.
Michael De Beyer, Kaiserhof Restaurant
What if being the best boss you could be meant giving up your entire business? Michael De Beyer, chef and owner of Kaiserhof Restaurant in Montgomery, Texas, offered to do just that. In 2014, he learned that one of his employees, then 19-year-old waitress Brittany Mathis, was diagnosed with a brain tumor and couldn't afford treatment.
When De Beyer learned of Mathis' diagnosis, he went above and beyond what most bosses would do to help an employee in a crisis — he put his business up for sale. According to the Huffington Post, De Beyer had listed his business before, but had turned down other offers in the past. This time, however, De Beyer decided to auction off the restaurant, with the minimum bid starting at half the business's actual value. Any amount above that, he said, would go to help Mathis with her medical expenses.
Kaiserhof still appears to be running, with De Beyer manning the kitchen, according to the restaurant's website, so we're not sure how this panned out or how Mathis is doing now. But we are sure that a boss willing to sell his business to help save an employee's life is a good one.
Ken Grenda, Grenda Corporation
If you checked your bank account on payday and saw that your paycheck was rounded up by a few hundred (or even several thousand) dollars, what would you do? Employees at Grenda Corporation, a bus company on Melbourne, Australia, had it happen to them, thanks to the company's owner, Ken Grenda.
In 2012, Grenda sold his 66-year-old family business for 400 million Australian dollars (just under $305 million USD) and instead of keeping all of profits, he decided to share it with his employees. Grenda took AU$15 million (around $11.4 million USD) and used it to give out bonuses to the company's dedicated employees. According to the Daily Mail, Grenda's employees were so surprised that some of them even called their banks to ask if there had been some sort of mistake.
Employees pointed out that they always felt appreciated at their jobs, even without the extra cash, though we're sure the bonuses didn't hurt. One employee of 15 years, Iain Beberidge, said that Grenda treated workers like family and that the boss knew everyone by their first names. With nearly 2,000 employees, that's quite the feat.
Stephen Cloobeck, Diamond Resorts
If you're a fan of the CBS hit show "Undercover Boss," you've probably heard of Stephen Cloobeck, the founder and chairman of vacation time-share company Diamond Resorts.
For those who are unfamiliar with "Undercover Boss," the show gives company CEOs, presidents, owners and founders the chance to go work among their employees while in disguise. At the end, bosses reveal their identities and are given the opportunity to meet with the employees they've worked with, to address issues, thank them for their work and give gifts (think money for medical expenses, continuing education and vacations). While many of the bosses who appear on the show are incredibly kind and generous, Cloobeck stands out for two reasons. First, he's the only boss to participate in the show twice, and second, his contributions to his employees are pretty outstanding.
According to AOL Jobs, Cloobeck has contributed $2 million to his workers — half of which came from his own pocket. He's also paid for an employee's cancer treatments and created a crisis fund for his employees (all 5,600 of them) should they ever need the help.
Chuck Sibley, Navistar
Employee layoffs are never easy, and no boss likes letting good employees go. When Chuck Sibley, manager at the Navistar diesel-engine plant in Huntsville, Alabama, learned that many of his workers would be laid off due to a production slowdown, he was devastated, worrying about the welfare of his employees and their families.
Sibley was determined to save his hard-working employees' jobs, and came up with a plan. He pitched a community outreach program to his managers that would allow his workers to keep their jobs while helping others. Sibley's plan allowed about 50 workers to keep their full pay and benefits while they gave back to the community by carrying out special projects for charities, People reported. Employees got to work with charities such as Habitat for Humanity and the Salvation Army, doing work like building homes, sorting donations, repairing wheelchair ramps and cleaning foreclosed properties.
Sibley may not have given his employees thousands of dollars from his own bank account or sacrificed his job for them, but he did fight to make it possible for his team to keep their jobs. And it paid off in a big way, not just for his workers but for his community, too.
Dan Price, Gravity Payments
Dan Price, CEO of credit card processing company Gravity Payments, just took a huge pay cut ($930,000, to be exact). No, it's not because his business is struggling — Price gave up his million-dollar salary to take a stand against income inequality, so that his employees could live and work without stressing over their living expenses.
In April, 2015, 30-year-old Price announced that he'd be raising the minimum starting salary for Gravity Payments' employees to $70,000, and using his own salary to make it happen, according to Time. Price based his decision on a Princeton study that found that emotional well-being is related to income, but usually only to the extent of around $75,000. And yes, you did the math right — this means that Price is now making the same annual salary as all of his employees, something you won't find at most companies.
"[We] only get to live this life once," Price told Time. "I want everybody that I'm partnered with at Gravity to really live the fullest, best life that they can."