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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

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Robert Locke

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

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Published on December 17, 2018

15 Important Interview Questions to Ask Employees During an Interview

15 Important Interview Questions to Ask Employees During an Interview

The importance of asking great questions cannot be overstated. Great questions help you discover new things, diagnose existing problems, and explore how well solutions are working in your life or business. Whether you work with consultants, executives, or entry-level employees, you cannot skip questions.

Now imagine running a company where sustainability and profitability depends on your ability to determine the brightest minds and skills in the industry in a single conversation:

How do you know they’re the perfect fit for you? How do you assess their communication skills? How do you know they won’t cost your team in the long run?

You know it already; ask great questions!

The concept of asking questions isn’t new but there is a great chance that you’re not taking full advantage of it. A Harvard Business Review article refers to questioning as a powerful tool that unlocks value, fuels innovation and performance improvement.[1] As a hiring manager or recruiter, how to you get this information when you’re meeting a candidate for the first time?

Ask great questions, of course.

Without further ado, here are 15 interview questions to ask employees during an interview:

1. “What are your career goals?”

Another version of this question is “What types of problems do you see yourself solving in the future?”

This question is almost never asked and when it is asked, most questions are geared towards knowing how long the employees intends to stay in the company.

Instead of asking leading questions that would steer employees into declaring undying loyalty for the organization, ask what types of problems they hope to solve in the future.

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This does two things:

  1. It reveals the skills and interest in your employees.
  2. It lets you know what types of candidates you are attracting in the first place.

With this, you’re able to trend this data to improve how you market your job opening. And if employee retention is pertinent to you, you can use this information to improve the job function so that future employees can see their future selves in this role.

2. “Why do you think you’re a great fit?”

It is important to go beneath the surface to ask questions that make the candidates speak about themselves in their own words. However, a surprising benefit of asking this question is that you’re able to determine how well-versed a candidate really is with the company’s challenges and goals, in addition to their personal attributes.

Instead of listing off accomplishments, an exceptional employee is able to help you see how these previous accomplishment can translate into helping your organization solve its current business problems.

3. “What do you hope to learn from this role?”

The answers to this question can reveal if there is a job-skill match and if a linear career progression is expected.

As you listen carefully and mind these answers from candidates, you begin to see trends in responses that help you refine how you develop roles, responsibilities, how employees see themselves, and what they want their career to look like.

4. “How do you deal with conflict between colleagues?”

Almost every breakdown in relationship is caused by miscommunication or lack of effective interpersonal skills. But a solid indicator of how well a person communicates is how they manage interpersonal conflict.

Conflict management skills is no longer something required only for corporations who wish to settle million-dollar lawsuits. It’s an essential skill that every worker ought to possess and can make or break an organization.

Tip: Ask for a time when they didn’t get along with a co-worker and how they resolved the conflict.

5. “How did you learn about this position?”

Asking how they learned about the position reveals how the brand is perceived by the outside world. This way, you know if your current employees is your biggest source of referrals for qualified applicants.

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This also lets you know how effective your current staffing processes are and which channels are worth the effort.

6. “Why are you interested in this position?”

Again, another seemingly basic question. But when you field applications from candidates who are transferring their skills from a different department or industry, you want to know why the change was made.

What led to the aha moment? What was the internal struggle like for them? What stands out to them about this particular position? Very important.

7. “What excites you the MOST about this position?”

After establishing how passionate they are about this position, it’s not unusual that you would want to know what tasks and responsibilities excite them most. With this knowledge, not only are you aware of their sense of ownership, you help nurture these skills by encouraging and facilitating the discovery of hidden potential in your employees.

For example, a hospital nurse might detest inserting intravenous catheters in patients but jump at the task of motivating colleagues and initiating stress-reduction activities on hospital units. An office employee might cringe at the thought of public speaking but excel at creating world-class presentations.

While you can’t exempt your employee from every task in the role because they favor one thing over another, you are more aware of how rich your existing talent pool is in your organization and can utilize your talents effectively.

8. “What do you consider your weakness?”

Why should you ask a candidate what his or her weakness is when all you want is someone perfect?

Admitting a weakness shouldn’t automatically disqualify a candidate. Rather, it reveals to you how self-aware the candidate is.

Self-awareness is essential to personal and professional development, and this is sometimes a precursor to how self-directed a person is regarding their career goals.

There are arguments about the need to abolish the weakness question from interviews because it reduces candidates’ accomplishments. I disagree.

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Asking employees about weaknesses lets you understand your employees better so you can not only create a work environment that is smart, you’re able to design professional development programs that can strengthen these weaknesses.

9. “What will you find challenging about this position?”

Maybe you don’t want to ask the ”weakness question.” Maybe you’re more concerned about the capacity to perform in the current job rather than their job history.

Still, you want to know if you have a creative problem solver and how they feel about potential problems when they arise. You also want to anticipate how your employees will adjust to their roles once they are successfully hired. Self-awareness about one’s ability and limits can be observed by asking this question during an interview.

Note: This question should never be asked with a malicious intent. Exceptional employees come with flaws and this should be expected. They key is knowing whether the successful candidate is willing to be a problem solver.

10. “What additional support will you need during your transition?”

This is a very important question during the interview question because not only is the labor market diverse, the response to this question can be used to develop the orientation process and additional training materials.

As a mentor to newer nurses, this is a question I repeat more than 50 percent of the time during the orientation period. The responses I get provide me with insights into what employees really consider as constraints so that I can make their transition as smooth as possible.

11. “What qualities do you desire in a leader or manager?”

Not everyone desires a manager who provides direction while giving you free rein to make your job your own. At the same time, some employees might prefer a manager who is detail-oriented and provides all the answers.

Knowing this before a candidate is hired can prevent conflict arising from differences in communication or management styles.

12. “What do you do if you don’t agree with your manager’s decisions?”

Conflict not only happens between employees. According to a study of conflict in the Canadian workforce,[2] about 81 percent of people leave the organization as a result of conflict.

The purpose of this question is to determine how adaptable an employee is to different communication styles, what they consider deal breakers, and how they model desired behavior when conflict arises.

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The responses to this question allows you to manage expectations and an indication for leaders to continuously work on their communication and conflict management skills.

13. “What would make this company an amazing place to work?”

Maybe you can’t provide free lunches or paid hours of free time at work like bigger companies. But answers to this question can reveal a lot about what employees think is crucial to well-being.

In a study of nearly 17,000 employees,[3] it was noted that an increase in stress level is directly correlated to workplace injury. While this interview won’t eradicate organizational constraints or stressors, feedback from candidates and employees on what makes a company a great place to work is the perfect place to start.

14. “What other questions do you have for me?”

Although this is a conversation to determine the best fit for your team, company, or organization, the interview goes both ways. Yes, you are also being scrutinized by your interviewee.

The purpose of this question is to create space to answer the candidate’s questions about your organization. You also get to provide insight on processes, expectations, team culture, and information that isn’t readily available on the company website.

15. “Tell me about yourself”

If everything else seems too much, lead with this timeless question. You simply cannot go wrong here.

Sometimes, the best answers come from open-ended queries. This is your best chance to know the candidate’s history, career accomplishments, and get a feel for their career goals all at the same time.

It is less intrusive and leading with this question makes it easier to approach other questions––depending on how sensitive the position is.

The Bottom Line

Conversation is a two-way street. Good questions can give you great insights into the value an employee can bring to your company. But there is an art and science to asking questions.

While you won’t become an expert right off the bat, these questions provide a good foundation to start from if you want to attract and retain top talent in your organization.

More Resources About Job Interview

Featured photo credit: Drew Beamer via unsplash.com

Reference

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