7 Traits of a Great Boss. Do you have one?

bad-bossIn the movie Horrible Bosses, Jason Bateman, Charlie Day, and Jason Sudeikis find themselves working for truly horrible people.  The movie, a fictional story, offers some very funny moments as these 3 employees ponder ways to be rid of their bosses.

Let’s face it we’ve all been there.  We’ve all worked for someone less than honorable, less than respectful, or less than human!  Unfortunately these bosses are everywhere.  Finding a great boss is no easy task.   It starts with you having a clear understanding of what attributes or traits your ideal boss would possess.  If your definition is incomplete, or worse, not formed at all, you will find it nearly impossible to end up with a great boss except by a total stroke of luck.

So what makes a great boss great?  Focus on the 7 traits below as you assess your current boss to decide just how great they are…or aren’t.

  1. Intellect.  I’m not talking about their GPA or MBA.  I’m referring to their ability to absorb information, assimilate it, and apply it to the work at hand.  Are they broad thinkers?  Do they have opinions that they can defend or support with data, healthy debate, or other validation points?
  2. Common Sense.  Does your boss make decisions solely based on data or can he augment his decisions by infusing common sense?  Great bosses (leaders) can look at the data at hand but use common sense to make quality decisions.  I suppose the folks at Coca-Cola had data suggesting people wanted a different tasting Coke which in turn led to the launch of “New Coke“.  It was a colossal failure and one that Coca-Cola had to walk back quickly.   Common sense could have save millions in wasted resources.
  3. Intuition.  What is your bosses background?  Have they been around or is this their first rodeo?  Intuition, unlike instinct, is formed through experience and thoughts as opposed to those things that tie back to our DNA over tens of thousands of years.  Intuition suggests an evolution or development.  Great bosses have strong intuition as to their decisions and direction.
  4. Humility.  Who wants to work for a glory hound?  Someone always seeking the attention and limelight.  A boss that operates with arrogance and egotism will always act to ensure their own personal status and self-preservation.  Often times a boss who is not humble creates a work environment that is overly aggressive and can border on hostile.
  5. Vision.  People want to follow a leader.  But people will only follow if they believe in the direction you are heading and embrace that direction.  Great bosses provide their employees with a strong vision as to where they are headed, why, and what it looks like when they get there.  Jonathan Swift said, “Vision is the art of seeing what is invisible to others.”
  6. Gracious.  How kind and courteous is your boss?  Does she say good morning when you come in?  Does he thank you for the work you’ve done?  Is she giving of her time when you need help, or do you feel the clock is always ticking?  Great bosses are kind, courteous and generous.  This does not mean they are soft or weak, but fair and gracious.
  7. Humor.  When was the last time you laughed at work?  Better yet, when was the last time you laughed in a meeting at work or just in talking with your boss.  Great bosses have good senses of humor.  They’re not simply jokers or pranksters but possess and overall good sense of humor.  Having the ability to laugh at work is the difference between a productive workforce and one that’s burned out.

If your boss has all 7 of these traits then you have found yourself a pretty great boss.  No one is perfect but it’s those that are still comfortable and confident with their imperfections, skills and critical talents that make for a great boss.

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