A few weeks ago we highlighted some qualities of the extraordinary employee. This week, the tables have turned. Filling a tough role, indeed, bosses encounter unique scrutiny. Think about the typical “boss” character in pop culture. More than likely, most are portrayed in a negative light — insincere, disrespectful, self-centered, absurdly demanding (to name a few traits).
Instead of harping on the negative, we’re focusing on the characters of a winning manager. The following, my friends, are qualities of a positively fabulous, wholly awesome, truly wonderful boss:
1. Encourages an approachable, respectful work environment.
Joe Vass, a videographer, says in an interview: “The best boss I ever had made me feel like a valued and important member of the team — not through his words, but through his actions,” Vass said. “He encouraged hard work, ingenuity and creativeness and valued everyone for who they were, and so we were inspired to work hard for ourselves and for him. He was always available for consultation and skilled at good, constructive criticism [and] suggestions.”
Awesome bosses also are inclusive, making everyone feel equal and a part of a team. It’s always good to encourage feedback, innovation, and creativity, helping your employees to feel genuinely engaged at work.
2. Thinks mission, not just money.
An effective boss builds and sustains a true business mission. A clear mission can motivate employees and help them focus, while also allowing them to feel a sense of importance and drive. Consistently steering towards a goal — while keeping money matters in mind — can help employees feel like they are a part of something and not just participating in a shallow 9-to-5 grind.
3. Communicates clearly.
It cannot be stressed enough. Being able to communicate with your employees clearly and directly is the foundation that awesome bosses rest upon. For instance, instead of “Please have [this task] done soon,” try “Please have [this task] done by end of business on Wednesday.”
4. Welcomes frankness.
Machiavelli? A terrible role model for a wannabe awesome boss. Mistakes happen, as we all know (a little too well, perhaps?). Instead, encourage your employees to approach you with difficulties. “This requires a mentality that encourages learning rather than a fear of making a mistake. Try something new and different, but know we’re not going to kill each other if things don’t work out,” says Rob Sheehan, director of executive education at the James MacGregor Burns Academy of Leadership at the University of Maryland. “I was a swimmer in college and I swam fast when I imagined a shark was after me. I swam just as fast when I imagined I was in the Olympics. It’s a question of what you want to focus on—fear or opportunity.”
5. Individually motivates.
This doesn’t mean pep talks. It doesn’t mean e-mailing an inspirational quote every Monday. It means understanding people’s motivations, and responding appropriately. The role of a boss isn’t simply to tell people what to do, but it’s to identify each employee for the specific qualities that he or she possesses, and enabling those strengths to be applied to the specific place that will best motivate the employee to continue producing good work.
6. Connects with employees
Although businesses are about results, humans are a bit messier than that. A good manager or boss builds rapport and trust with his or her employees. You can’t fake it. Openness, authenticity, and friendliness are all necessities to truly bonding and growing with your employees. People will find it more enjoyable to work with others that are relaxed and informal.
What do you think are some other traits of a fabulous boss?