Popular culture is filled with examples of bosses who have sworn to make the lives of their employees miserable. Their representation in general, is also partly responsible for bosses having a bad reputation in the corporate world. Jameson in the Spiderman trilogy, Miranda Priestley in The Devil Wears Prada, Gordon Gekko in Wall Street, Mr. Burns in The Simpsons and the trio in Horrible Bosses series, have all tried to make the lives and jobs of their subordinates much more difficult than it would have normally been. In these popular movies, employees have been paid unfairly, treated invisible, and even ended up in jail. However, reality as we know doesn’t mimic fiction. Sure, we all encounter incompetent and arrogant bosses frequently, but we can also attest to the fact that considerate and confident bosses exist, though maybe are a little less frequently found.
If you have had the opportunity of working with a solicitous and efficient boss, you know the impact a good boss and a leader can have on results and careers. But how you do you identify a good boss? Some might argue that people who are inherently compassionate and kind, will turn out to be great bosses, but that might not always be the case. Regardless of who they are, a good boss must evoke or have the following traits:
You can be yourself around your boss
If your conversations and meetings with your boss are preceded by fear and worry, with anxious preparations of what you must exactly say, verbatim, consider it a red flag. While many leaders my use fear or authority as a means to induce respect, a good boss will always be approachable and friendly, and you won’t be walking on eggshells around them. You will not be afraid to share a bad news with them, for you know their anger or disappointment will not be misdirect towards you – the messenger.
You boss is an actual team player
At the risk of stating the obvious, a boss must always be a team player, but a surprising number of leaders and bosses aren’t. As the leader of the team, the boss not only knows how to delegate work in a fair and inclusive manner, but also assume other responsibilities. Furthermore, as someone managing the team, they should always solve conflict, and not avoid it, and must foster a safe environment to give each other feedback. Hence, a good boss will probably not blast his team for not meeting a deadline, but will point out the shortcomings, and jump in to fix what’s wrong.
Your boss doesn’t operate in extremes
If you gauge the approachability of your boss by what mood they are in, chances are, they aren’t a very good boss to begin with. Rather than having good days – where everything is coated in sugar – and bad days, wherein a stain on your tie can be reason enough for a sarcastic comment, a good boss is always balanced in handling the team. They do not overdo celebrating successes, and do not become hyper-critical while criticising.
Your boss can communicate clearly
Communication regarding goals, structure, decision making, failures and successes, accountability is critical for the team to have faith in their boss, and a good one will ensure that this two-way street doesn’t have any roadblocks. They know how to give negative feedback without being personal or mean, and also know how to handle untoward situations during professional meetings and events. If you often find yourself reading between your boss’ lines, and having different theories as to what they really want done, chances are you disappoint them frequently, because the very first step of communication, from the sender’s end is unclear.
Your boss actually cares about you
They actually ask and enquire about your life outside of work, and make a note to find out how the kids’ school event went, or how an ailing parent is doing. With the society becoming increasingly fragmented and human interaction turning virtual, small reaffirmations like these go a long way in establishing trust and safety in your professional relationship. They understand the need to devote time to friends and family, and are flexible to such requests. A genuine display of concern and affection, even if momentary and verbal, is a sign of a good boss, who cares about his employees.
Your boss doesn’t dismiss feedback
No matter how menial the issue at hand is, if feedback of any kind is not dismissed by your boss as worthless, they might be on the right track. Any good leader knows that verifying results – and understanding how they were achieved – is critical to moving forward, and hence a good boss will not take feedback lightly. Instead, they will listen to everyone, encourage creative solutions, and will not assume that they have an answer to every question that might come up. They are willing and patient to understand and find answers with everybody’s involvement.
Your progress is on their agenda
Instead of turning green with your successes and progress, a good boss will actually prioritise the same. They will trust you with your work, and not micromanage work your for you, will be appreciative of the skills you bring to the table, and most of all, will not be afraid to empower you. They will find opportunities to train and coach you, themselves or otherwise, and your development and success will be of paramount importance.
There you have it, some of the traits a good boss must have. We’re sure there are others characteristics that can be used to identify a great boss, so help us out, and leave us a comment if we’ve missed any. How did you identify that you boss was actually a great one? Let us know!