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20 Signs That You’ve Got a Good Boss

20 Signs That You’ve Got a Good Boss

I have just made a mental list of all the bosses I have had in my forty years of work. Some were pretty good; others were simply awful. Nowadays, the latter are also in the majority. One survey has found that 77% of employees are stressed out at some point, because their bosses are bad!

Then, suddenly I found that I was a manger myself, so I became acutely aware of what makes a good boss. The greatest challenge was in managing staff and using my people skills effectively.

Here are 20 signs that you got a good boss.

1. Your boss reassures you

This may take the form of encouragement and stimulation to do even better. They both go hand-in-hand and the results from employees can be impressive. Once you are reassured that you are on the right track, then you can achieve anything.

2. Your boss does not micromanage

 “Hire well, manage little.” —Warren Buffett

If a boss ignores the above quote, the likelihood is that he will not get much done. Employees’ reactions to micromanagement can range from demotivation to a feeling that they will never be allowed to work on their own. The boss who indulges in this feels he knows best and cannot trust the employee fully.

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3. Your boss appreciates your skills

A great boss will soon become familiar with people’s talents and skills. It is a great asset when delegation has to be done. She will dedicate one-on-one time to finding out about what you enjoy most at work, your ambitions, and where you are headed. This fits neatly into skills training and, hopefully, promotion. You feel that you know where you are going and so does your boss.

4. Your boss can take the blame

Sometimes, a bad boss will do everything to shift the blame on to an unfortunate team leader or member, when the faulty decision was definitely his. Now the good boss will admit mistakes and openly walk staff through the analysis of failure and the lessons to be learned. He is a great model for employees to follow and this will discourage them from playing the blame game.

5. Your boss is friendly and approachable

We have all had difficult and bad tempered bosses, not to mention autocratic and mean ones as well. If your boss is friendly and approachable it really helps you to discuss a problem or how to solve a particular issue which is bothering you.

6. Your boss can communicate effectively

You know exactly what you have to do and by when. Your boss has explained it all to you and this makes meeting the deadline much easier. Problems arise when a bad boss is hopeless at communicating.

7. Your boss keeps meetings to a minimum

Guess what really grates on people’s nerves? Yes, you guessed it—all those endless and often, useless meetings. Workers feel that meetings should be used for brainstorming and reporting on progress. They should help, rather than hinder productivity. Good bosses know that and put it into practice.

8. Your boss focuses on small wins

Employees are encouraged when the boss notes the small wins or baby steps towards the big goal. A great boss will make sure that workers are thanked, whether it is an email or a phone call. It works every time and motivation shoots up.

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9. Your boss is an active listener

Many bosses make the mistake of talking far too much and stifling staff contributions. Employees sit still and are sullen. A great boss will defend her stance when she knows she is right but will also be able to listen when she thinks she may be in the wrong.

10. Your boss does not know it all

“It is easy to be a holy man on top of a mountain.” —W. Somerset Maugham

Not claiming total knowledge is a great attribute because it is what the psychologist, James Meacham, describes as the “attitude of wisdom.” These bosses are aware that there is an ideal balance between knowing and doubting. This is reflected in the workers who feel that they will be consulted and encouraged to offer innovative ideas, when appropriate.

11. Your boss does menial tasks

Many bosses, once they rise to the dizzy heights of executive level, would never dream of dirtying their hands with menial tasks. But a really good boss knows what exactly is going on and is prepared to do even boring jobs. It is an excellent way of keeping in touch with reality in the workplace and is a also a great way to bond with staff.

12. Your boss is prepared to coach

Some bosses never really want to dirty their hands with actually coaching workers on how to do certain jobs. They feel that workers need to learn themselves. Yet the secret of wise management is that the good boss knows when to step in and teach and when to be just a helpful presence on the sidelines.

13. Your boss gives immediate feedback

Workers want feedback and they need it immediately whether they have screwed up or succeeded. That is when they really appreciate it and not months later at the performance assessment.

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14. Your boss creates a constructive atmosphere

If you really feel part of the team and know that respect, integrity and trust are actually put into practice, then you have a good boss. The boss will be the driving force in creating this atmosphere which in turn will lead to higher morale and greater motivation.

15. Your boss is flexible

Because your boss takes a personal interest in her workers’ lives, she will be much more willing to allow for flexible working arrangements when family matters need more attention. You will 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 stay in control. But a good boss knows that by encouraging staff to make changes to improve services, production and finances, then it will be a win-win situation for everyone.

17. Your boss is empathetic

Empathy is an essential human quality and goes over and above taking an interest in the employee as an individual. The good boss’s perceptions of what people are going though is paramount to building a great team. He is not just a figurehead playing a role but rather a person who is fully tuned into his five senses in understanding what is going on around him. Watch the Financial Times video where Valerie Gaultier explains all this.

18. Your boss is fair

You can spot a bad boss immediately if she is surrounded by a clique of favorite persons who may be brownnosers, overly ambitious or just simply trying to get one up on their colleagues.

Treating everyone equally is the hallmark of a really good boss. Workers feel appreciated and they know that everyone is treated fairly.

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19. Your boss does not participate in office gossip

Some office gossip is harmless but more often than not, it is misused to damage people’s reputation and cause fear, resentment and envy. A good boss sets the example by refusing to get involved in spreading any gossip. She will be a role model to follow.

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 bad boss may shut himself off and refuse to involve staff as he thinks he can solve the problems. Fear and distrust are usually the result, not to mention a reduction in staff morale.

A good boss knows that he will have to take the staff into his confidence by asking for help and ideas. The best way to get the staff’s commitment is to invite suggestions, solutions and to move forward although there may be painful decisions to be made.

If your boss meets all these criteria, you should stay. If you are a boss and you can’t tick off all the boxes, then it may be time for some self-assessment.

Featured photo credit: Modern business: Team work /Kevin Dooley via flickr.com

More by this author

Robert Locke

Author of Ziger the Tiger Stories, a health enthusiast specializing in relationships, life improvement and mental health.

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Last Updated on December 5, 2018

How to Lead a Team More Effectively and Be a True Leader at Work

How to Lead a Team More Effectively and Be a True Leader at Work

Being an efficient manager and a charismatic boss at the same time can seem like an impossible task. Is there a way to deliver the desired results for your business while remaining liked and respected by your staff?

We all know bad examples of team leaders who seem to fail at one aspect or the other, or even at both. But we’ve also heard of awesome managers who seem to juggle both things well enough.

How do they do it?

By sticking to few proven ways that let them maintain a positive karma score while remaining efficient. In this article, we’ll guide you through 11 smart management tips on how to lead a team and become something more than a boss – a leader.

1. Find a Management Strategy and Stick to It

There’s nothing worse than a boss that keeps changing his or her opinions and assignments depending on their mood or a book they read this week. Chaotic decisions increase the insecurity and frustration of your team, so you better find your strategy and stick to it.

If you do find some new methods you want your staff to follow, make sure they don’t contradict the general direction you are taking. Otherwise, you risk making your team take one step forward and two steps back.

2. Set Goals​ and Track Progress in Reaching Them

Set individual and collective goals​ for your team and track the progress in reaching them. This might sound obvious at first, but too often we find ourselves stuck between daily customer requests and monthly reports, and the bigger goal or vision seems to fade away.

According to Elon Musk (and many other successful CEOs around the Globe), it’s crucial to have a clear and motivating aim to where the company is heading. His aim for the space transportation company SpaceX is “to make humankind a multi-planetary species”.[1] That’s a huge goal but the company is slowly moving closer to it by reaching smaller steps and milestones, like launching self-landing rockets. This is also a very inspiring and meaningful goal that helps employees endure the company’s extremely high expectations and 60 to 70-hour work weeks.[2]

Even if your goals are not as grand, setting and reaching milestones will give you a clear insight into the team’s overall efficiency and daily progress. With time, you will be able to see the weak spots and improve your results.​

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3. Demand Learning from Your Team

CEO of print on demand startup Printful, Davis Siksnans, believes that:[3]

“The key for a company going through rapid growth is to empower your employees’ self-development.”

His company with 500 employees spanning two continents demands a culture of learning and provides all the tools necessary to do it.

Their idea is –  as the company scales, people have to grow in their positions too, which means that they have to be constantly learning. Siksnans says:

“We try to hire people for what they might become, but they need to have that drive.“

Alternatively, you can provide educational courses for your employees or invite informal lecturers to educate and inspire your team. You can also encourage peer-to-peer learning by asking employees to teach their particular experience or skill to co-workers.

4. Invest in a Pleasant Work Environment

Studies show that a well-designed office environment can increase your team’s overall performance by as much as 20%. You’ll be surprised to see that even very small interior tweaks that don’t require major investments can improve your workers’ performance.

Some ideas for a more productive and pleasing work environment:

  • Invest in modern furniture – offer ergonomic chairs, standing desks, and individually arranged workplaces​.
  • Start an in-house library – reading for pleasure just 30 minutes a day is proven to be enough to become more effective at work,[4] improve focus, and deal with problems like depression and anxiety.​
  • Play jazzy office music – rhythmic background music will help workers feel more energetic and enthusiastic while doing everyday tasks.​
  • Set up entertainment or break rooms – being able to relax and have fun at work creates a strong commitment, helps employees relax and clear their minds, and boosts productivity.​
  • Bring in uplifting office decor – it’s been found that art in the workplace can boost productivity,[5] lower stress, and even encourage employees to innovate.​
  • Decorate the office with live plants for freshness and a welcoming feel. Furthermore, plants are found to ensure better air quality and increase workers’ productivity by 15%.[6]

5. Be Kind and Sincere to Your Team

Did you know that 50% of employees quit because they dislike working with their manager?[7] In fact, most times when people leave their jobs they actually leave their managers. Being friendly and sincere may not be enough to be a successful manager, but it’s a big part of it.

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Some ways to show you appreciate and care for your staff:

  • Celebrate the progress and achievements of your employees. And don’t be shy to simply say thanks.​
  • Talk to your employees regularly and really listen to what they have to say. Address their concerns, help them reach their goals and do your best to improve their work and daily life.
  • If you’re having a bad day, don’t pour out your stress and anger on the staff. Instead, try to recharge yourself by appreciating the achievements of your team and setting the next goals.
  • Try not to overload your team with work. Every company has rush periods when it’s okay to have more work than usual. But remember that people cannot work under prolonged pressure and stress.
  • Don’t be selfish – it can be very demotivating to see that the manager only focuses on what you can do for him and doesn’t care about your goals and well-being.​ As the CEO of Xerox Anne M. Mulcahy put it,[8]

    “Employees who believe that management is concerned about them as a whole person — not just an employee — are more productive, more satisfied, more fulfilled.”

Whenever you are having doubts about your kind attitude, remember – satisfied employees are productive employees which lead to satisfied customers and eventually – success for your company.

6. Offer Flexible Work Hours

The traditional Monday to Friday, 9 to 5 job is beginning to slip away. Increasingly more people are working remotely or having flexible work hours, and we can expect this trend to continue. To adapt to these changing habits and remain competitive in the labor market, more employers are offering the chance to choose your own work hours, work from home or even from another city or country.

Offering flexible hours is a powerful way to inspire your existing staff and give them intrinsic motivation. Why not let your employees choose their preferred working hours while keeping the 8-hour day? For example, night owls are unhappy and unproductive if they have to come to work before 10 AM, while others might prefer to start at 7 and finish earlier.

You can go even farther and hire remote workers – this way you’ll be able to recruit from a global talent pool and even save money on office expenses like desks, stationery, electricity, etc.[9]

7. Track Your Team’s Productive Time

Not monitoring your employees’ progress and efficiency can result in poor performance and slacking. Instead of letting things go with the flow, you should consider installing time-tracking software on your employees’ computers and see who’s doing great and who might need a productivity boost.

But don’t get it wrong – there’s no need to become big brother and watch every step your employees take. If you use the time-tracker as a spying tool, you will only see increasing suspicion and insecurity around you, and your employees’ happiness levels will drop.

On the contrary, choose software that allows employees to mark private time that won’t be tracked. In addition, consider these time-management tactics:

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  • Allow flexible work hours. (see Tip No 6)
  • Encourage breaks – studies show that employees who take regular breaks are more productive than those who don’t.[10]
  • Enable remote work to show your employees that you trust them and that they can work from home or even from another country (if they can maintain sufficient productivity).
  • Consider offering bonuses to your most productive employees (those who show productivity levels above 90 or 95%).

8. Use Only Constructive Criticism

Constructive criticism means offering valid and rational opinions about the work of others, involving both positive comments and remarks about what should be improved. Constructive criticism is usually expressed in a friendly manner rather than an oppositional one.

When you evaluate your team’s work, give them feedback that’s helpful, specific, and sincere. Don’t be shy to praise, but also be direct and even strict when necessary.

9. Don’t Give Special Treatment to Yourself

The boss’s actions are – directly or indirectly – observed by your team. This means that your employees look up to you and often mimic your attitude towards your work and the company – especially if your actions don’t show commitment. Nobody wants to work for a leader who doesn’t go all in or inspire motivation.

What you should do is lead by example. If you expect your employees to arrive at work on time and work 8 hours, do the same yourself. If you want them to show initiative, show it yourself and encourage others to do the same.

Jeff Weiner is the CEO of LinkedIn – a company of 3,000 employees that consistently ranks as one of the best workplaces with a 92 percent employee-approval rating.[11] Weiner’s workdays are reported to be equally long or even longer than those of his employees, allowing him to stay “extremely credible as a leader.”

10. Empower Your Employees

Here’s a common mistake many managers make:

They don’t motivate their staff and assume they simply love to work for their company.​ Such belief can result in painful losses for the company – especially these days when many companies are in desperate need of a reliable workforce.

Instead of directly thinking about bonuses and perks, consider intrinsic motivation. For example, enable flat organization in your team and listen to your employees’ ideas when they come up with opinions and suggestions. Your company might actually benefit a great deal from the feedback, and the unique ideas employees come up with.

You can also start an initiative where employees can freely share or pitch their business ideas to you or the founders of the company. If the idea is accepted by the management, the project can be developed, and the employee can have equity options.

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If people feel they have an impact in the company, they become more motivated, engaged and interested in the company’s growth.

11. Nurture Your Company Culture

Company culture is the personality of a company that defines the overall work environment and relationships between teammates. It also includes company mission, values, ethics, and goals.

Some examples of company cultures are the Horizontal corporate culture (collaborative and equal; popular among startups and free-spirited businesses) and Conventional corporate culture (a more risk-averse and hierarchy-based approach common in traditional companies).

However, you don’t have to stick to pre-existing boxes when creating your corporate culture. You might think of your team as a family, a sports team, or even a hippie camp if it fits your business and purpose. But keep in mind that by the time a company’s size reaches 20 employees, the company culture is set,[12] and any changes will need to be implemented in smaller teams.

Whichever personality you choose for your company, make sure to live by it and nurture it. Some things that might help:

Team building events, relevant books in your office library and proper on-boarding for the new employees to get everyone on the same page from the very beginning.

Be a Leader, Not a Boss

Using the words of Printful’s CEO Davis Siksnans, the ultimate goal is to “Hire great people who don’t have to be managed.”

However, when you do need to demonstrate some initiative and control, act as a leader rather than as a boss.

In other words, don’t be afraid to show the personality behind your role. And keep these 11 tips close to your heart.

Featured photo credit: rawpixel via unsplash.com

Reference

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