In every employee’s career, they will come across bosses that range from insufferable to great. Unfortunately, nowadays, the latter are the minority – as this survey says about 77% of employees are stressed out at some point, because their bosses are bad. Over the course of 40 years, I have had a fair share of bosses – some good, some awful. However, as fate would have it, I found myself in the position of becoming a manager and therefore became acutely aware of what makes a good boss. I soon found that managing staff and effectively using my people skills was one of the biggest challenges in my career.
Here is a list of 20 signs that you have a good boss:
1. Your boss reassures you
A great boss will provide encouragement and stimulation for you to do even better. Receiving assurance that you are on the right track allows you to achieve anything.
2. Your boss does not micromanage
A boss who disregards the importance of hiring well and managing little won’t get much done. Micromanagement demotivates employees and the employee feels that they will never be allowed to work on their own. Micromanagement comes from bosses who feel like they know what is best for their employees and are unable to trust their employees fully.
3. Your boss appreciates your skills
A great boss is familiar with the skills and talents of their employees, which is a great asset when it comes to delegation. One-on-one conversations can be dedicated to finding out about an employee’s goals and ambitions, where they’re headed and what they enjoy doing most at work. This contains itself neatly in skills training and hopefully, promotion. Knowing where you and your boss are headed ensures that the employee feels motivated and encouraged.
4. Your boss can take the blame
A bad boss may do everything to shift blame onto a team leader or member when the poor decision was their own. A good boss will admit to their own mistakes and lead their staff through the analysis of failure and the lessons to be learned. Being a model for employees to follow will discourage them from playing the blame game.
5. Your boss is friendly and approachable
We all know that difficult and bad tempered bosses, not to mention autocratic and mean ones, exist. If your boss is friendly and approachable, it makes it easier for the employee to discuss problems or how to solve a particular issue.
6. Your boss can communicate effectively
A great boss provides an employee with clear instructions, great communication skills ensure that the employee knows what they have to do and by when.
7. Your boss keeps meetings to a minimum
Endless and often pointless meetings make everyone feel irritated. Meetings should be used for brainstorming and reporting on progress, they should help rather than hinder productivity. A good boss knows that and limits meetings accordingly.
8. Your boss focuses on small wins
A great boss notes the small wins or baby steps towards the big goal. Making sure that appreciation for the effort put into progress is noted works every time – motivation shoots up.
9. Your boss is an active listener
Many bosses make the mistake of talking far too much and not allowing their staff to contribute. A great boss will defend their stance when they know they are right, but will also listen when they think they are wrong.
10. Your boss does not know it all
Claiming total knowledge is not a great attribute – an attitude of wisdom stems from knowing the ideal balance between knowing and doubting. This knowledge is reflected in the employees, as they are encouraged to offer innovative ideas when appropriate.
11. Your boss does menial tasks
Many bosses who rise to the dizzy heights of executive level would never dirty their hands with menial tasks. However, a great boss knows what is happening in the workplace and is prepared to do even the most boring of jobs. Doing menial tasks is an excellent way to stay in touch with reality in the workplace and can be a great way to bond with staff.
12. Your boss is prepared to coach
Some bosses never want to coach their workers on certain tasks, feeling that workers need to learn for themselves. However, wise management involves knowing when to step in and teach and when to be a helpful presence on the sidelines.
13. Your boss gives immediate feedback
Workers want feedback and they need it as soon as it is possible whether they have succeeded or not. They really appreciate feedback and not getting it until their performance review can feel disheartening.
14. Your boss creates a constructive atmosphere
Feeling part of a team, with respect, integrity, and trust can lead to higher morale and greater motivation. Your boss can help create this atmosphere, putting all three values into practice.
15. Your boss is flexible
The boss who takes a personal interest in his or her workers’ lives will be much more willing to allow for flexible working arrangements when family matters need attention. You naturally feel more valued and more committed.
16. Your boss is not afraid of empowerment
Some bosses steer clear of empowerment as they feel that workers could start to run the whole company. Insecure bosses want to remain in control but a good boss knows that by encouraging staff to make changes to improve services, production or finances then it will be a win-win situation for everyone.
17. Your boss is empathetic
Empathy is an essential human quality that goes beyond taking an interest in the employee as an individual. A great boss’s perception of what people are going through is paramount to building a great team. Empathy allows great bosses to be fully tuned in to their five senses and understand what is happening around them.
18. Your boss is fair
A bad boss is easy to spot if they are surrounded by a clique of favorite persons who may be brown-nosers, overly ambitious or simply trying to get ahead of their colleagues. Treating everyone equally is the hallmark of a great boss, workers feel appreciated and know that they are being treated fairly.
19. Your boss does not participate in office gossip
Office gossip, in some parts, is harmless but more often than not it is used to damage people’s reputations causing fear, resentment and envy. A good boss sets an example by refusing to get involved in spreading any gossip.
20. Your boss stays cool in a crisis
Crises happen. There may be an emergency, a drop in customer orders or the threat of industrial action. A great boss knows that they will have to take the staff into their confidence by asking for help and ideas. The best way to get committed staff is by inviting them to offer suggestions, solutions and to lead by example.
In conclusion, if the boss meets all of these criteria, you should stay. However, if you are a boss and you can’t tick all the boxes then it may be time for some self-assessment.