What Makes a Great Boss? A Guide for Aspiring Leaders

What Makes a Great Boss?
A Guide for Aspiring Leaders

What makes a good boss?

If you have recently accepted a position where you are in charge of a team of people, you most likely have asked yourself this question. As a manager, you are the central culture setter for your organization.

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

If you are looking for ways to lead your team decisively, you’re in the right place. We’ve put together a list of qualities that great bosses share.

5 Traits of a Good Boss

If you think back to some of your favorite jobs, you may remember a boss that acted more like a leader and less like a “boss.” Although these two words can describe a manager, they have different connotations.

A leader challenges their team to be the best they can be. A boss creates subordinates. A leader is in the middle of the fight. A boss sends troops to take the fall. A leader blames themselves. A boss points the finger.

We’ve all had bosses that prescribe to some of these traits. What makes a good boss? To come up with our list, we asked around and did a little research on leadership. The result is our top 5 traits of a good boss.

A Good Boss Creates a Positive Culture in the Workplace

Most people who love their job, don’t just love what they do, they love their team. Having the right team is essential for creating a positive workplace. The right boss doesn’t just look for workers to fill a role. They look for people to complement their team.

Being the culture-setter of a team isn’t about being a rah-rah motivator. It’s about understanding the team you have. It’s about incorporating guiding habits you want to instill when it comes to team projects, delegating authority, and completing tasks.

To set a positive culture, you need to have a clear vision of the type of what a good team looks like, and establish the habits it takes to get there. It’s a paradigm shift to a new way of thinking rather than a set of mandates.

It is coached and guided with empathy and support, with the belief that your team will get there. When adding new talent, the employee should reflect the vision you wish to cultivate and compliment the team’s strengths and weaknesses.

A Good Boss Builds Trust In Workers By Building The Culture With Them

While a boss should have a clear vision for the culture they would like to create, it’s also essential that they receive feedback from team members on how the culture should look.

According to John Wooden, the winningest coach in college basketball history, he believed that building a culture that supports traits like friendship, loyalty, cooperation, and teamwork were the cornerstones of what he called the pyramid of success.

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Wooden is praised by many in the business of leadership alongside motivational titans like Earl Nightingale, Tony Robbins, and others when employers feel valued, they buy-in because it’s part of their vision.

It is best summed up by John Wooden when he said: “Whatever you do in life, surround yourself with smart people who’ll argue with you.”

A Good Boss Puts People First

A good boss recognizes that culture is the real work of a manager. They understand that a shared vision is better than a singular one. One of the traits of a good boss is that they put their ego aside and focus on building strong relationships.

People work hard for people they care for. If your focus is on building unity through a shared purpose, then your team will work towards achieving the shared goals you’ve set out.

Theodore Roosevelt had a saying when it came to leading the nation. “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.”

We believe this perfectly sums up the feelings of a boss putting people first.

A Good Boss Uses Challenges as Opportunities for Growth

A good boss is self-reflective and willing to receive feedback to become better. This willingness to grow and see challenges as opportunities to learn and become better instills the same in their team.

A manager is not right 100% of the time, and the boss who can recognize this and self-correct remains a humble leader. A boss must be willing to extend the same courtesy to his team.

Challenging moments are an opportunity to coach others and course correct. Coaching should focus on helping others become aware of the problem and help them to see the solutions.

When employees know you care about their success, they understand that success is only part of the goal, as well as challenges, are part of the solution. We never move past a problem without first learning from it.

Albert Einstein said it like this, “You cannot solve a problem on the level on which it is created.”

A Good Boss Is Always Moving Forward

A good boss is usually hard to find; that’s because they don’t tend to stay in one place. They move up, move on, and commit to becoming better, and sometimes that means growing through change.

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

A good boss is always looking for their successor because they understand that the point of growth is for everyone to have a chance of greatness. They don’t cling to their position as an end goal, but a touchstone for larger things.

A good boss loves to solve problems, and when they become great at solving problems, they look for bigger problems to solve. It’s how a good boss continues to add value.

Jim Rohn said it best, “The major value in life is not what you get. It’s what you become.”

The good boss focuses on the future. Often that takes them to new places. If they successfully brought value, their value will stand as a roadmap for the next boss.

Do You Have What it Takes? 

What makes a good boss to you? Is it the way they lead, the way they care, or the way they make you feel?

If you’re a new boss, create a vision, enlist the help of your team, and make it happen.