What Makes a Good Boss
When you're looking for work there are also key traits that you are looking for in the person you want to work for. While the expectations you have for an employer will vary a little by industry, there are certain elements that make a good boss.
A good boss....
Listens: This is a key skill in an employee, but it is also essential for an effective manager. The responsibility for office decisions is ultimately up to the boss, but a manager who can listen will base decisions on the abilities, needs and limitations of staff, resources and time frame. Also, the more you feel heard, the more you feel appreciated, something everyone deserves on the job.
Communicates: This is a continuation of listening. A good manager should not only hear what you say, but be able to tell you what they want from you in a manner that is clear and professional. A boss shouldn't be too vague in their directions, nor should they speak to you in a patronizing tone. A manager should never yell, make personal comments or use humor as a put down.
Delegates: A manager is responsible for the overall workplace or project. This can lead some to try and control every aspect of the work flow to make sure no one else "messes" things up. This, in turn, can lead to a stressful work place with an overworked boss who is resentful of staff and a workforce of people who feel unappreciated and bored. A good boss will recognize that you are the best person to do your job and will provide you with clear direction that allows you to do it without watching over your shoulder.
Empathizes: A manager may deal with a variety of staff, of all ages and in all stages of life. A good manager can acknowledge the need of the parent of three to stay home with her sick kids, while also recognizing that the single colleague shouldn't always have to stay late to compensate, or that sometimes you will miss the train and be late for work, but that someone who is late all the time causes work flow problems for the rest of the staff.
This is not the same as the boss who tries to be everyone's friend. It is a person who believes a little courtesy makes for a healthier workplace.
Supports: A good boss will recognize that employees want to better themselves and further their careers. They should not be threatened by this. Good managers will help you find professional development opportunities and allow you to take part in new projects when it is applicable to your talents, time and career goals. Within a company, a good manager will also not pass the buck down to staff members when dealing with upper management and will make sure the concerns of staff are known to the powers that be.
Instructs: Very few people like to be micro-managed, but it can be even more frustrating to be given no clear direction and end up in trouble with your boss for not meeting expectations. A good boss makes it clear what they want, and tells you promptly and professionally if you are not providing what they need. They will also be frank and fair about concerns surrounding performance, attitude and behaviour -- there should be no surprises in your performance review.
Encourages: A good boss is one who is always willing to acknowledge a job well done.
Respects: This is a big one. A lack of respect is one of the main reasons people feel unfulfilled at work. What is respect? Respect means appreciating the people who work with and for you.
Respect is not offering a shiny plaque for doing three-times your workload. Respect means sincerely trying to help employees through crunch times and acknowledging that having limitations does not mean being inferior. Respect means understanding that people have different cultural and religious holidays and traditions. It means acknowledging people have different learning styles and ways of presenting themselves.
Sees the Big Picture: Finally, a good boss should always have their eye on the final product or deadline. Staff can sense when an employer has a handle on things and when they are letting something slip. This can be stressful since it puts staff in the awkward position of possibly offending their boss by mentioning oversights, or not saying anything and jeopardizing a project.