What Makes A Great Boss?

What makes a great boss really? It’s a tough question to answer because different people will define it differently. Someone lazy may enjoy working under a boss who slacks as the boss probably does not bother whether that employee is lazy or not.

But let’s assume a great boss is easy to define and we all have our own list of criteria that makes a great boss, what would yours be?

Mine? Here is my list that I think would answer – What makes a great boss?

1. Understand The Little Things Matter
I have worked under a few bosses who show off about being big picture and all. They think in macro view and all that. Sure, that is an important trait of a boss. But more importantly, I think what makes a great boss is one who appreciates that the daily functioning of the team and company depends on the details. Money is made and lost on details. My great boss would understand the importance of details and appreciate the people who contribute to it.

2. Can Balance Between Being Stern And Being Soft
What makes a great boss? A great boss is likely like a parent. He knows when he needs to be stern and discipline and reprimand. But he will also know when to be soft and forgive mistakes. He knows not everyone needs to be punished when making a mistake but not everyone listens to advice as well. He can balance both so people do not take him for granted.

3. Willing To Admit To Mistakes And Take Responsibilities
A great boss literally takes one for the team. He knows his fingers are in the project and if something goes wrong he does not go around pushing blame and giving excuses. He is responsible enough to know he is the leader and should take responsibility.

4. Make Approach Easy
A great boss makes approach easy in two ways. Firstly, he makes approaching him easy. No one fears bringing him ideas knowing he will kill them quite easily. They respect him for the candor. No one fears bringing him bad news as they know he will help and facilitate rather than blame. Secondly, he makes approach easy by making his intentions and plans understandable. People under him are able to approach any projects they have in a better manner.

5. Protects But Disciplines
What makes a great boss? A great boss protects his people in front of others. Be it the clients, other departments, or his own boss. If there is a mistake made, he settles it out of the view of others. This understanding is forged between him and his people. They know he protects them and they willingly take the disciplines he dishes out.

6. Open To Criticisms
In fact a great boss relies on criticisms to make his team better. While he protects he also listens to things that maybe true about his team. He relies on these to train any areas his team is inadequate. That makes him constantly improve his team’s standards. Internally, he creates opportunities that will allow for the smooth flow of feedback to him.

7. Creates A Virtuous Cycle
He knows a toxifying culture will kill everyone on the team. What makes a great boss is he is able to create a virtuous cycle where shared values are open to all to see and he propagates this shared value by rewarding behavior consistent with shared values. He recruits people who believe in these shared values and gets rids of destructive ones.

What makes a great boss? There are probably a lot more that I have not covered. What are your criteria of a great boss? Share them with me. I recommend you read this book – Good Boss, Bad Boss: How to Be the Best... and Learn from the Worst to gain more insight into what makes a great boss.

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