Tweak Your Biz » Management » What Makes A Good Boss?

What Makes A Good Boss?



“Nothing so conclusively proves a man’s ability to lead others as what he does from day to day to lead himself” -  Thomas J. Watson

A good boss, like anything other good experience we have in life, can leave a lasting impression on us.  But unlike horror stories often recounted about ‘bad’ bosses we don’t hear that many great stories about the ‘good’ boss.

With workers everywhere feeling a certain level of fear because of the troubled economy, and with words such as ‘redundancy’, ‘layoffs’ and ‘cut-backs’ becoming more common in the workplac e its logical to assume that stress is never very far away for many of us.  It’s certainlytrue that a good working relationship between a boss and their employee’s helps create a more stress free working environment.   And with Stress been one of the most common reasons people leave their jobs today (due to stress related illnesses) perhaps it’s time to take a look at the positive aspects & abilities of the amazing men and women out there who do fall under the heading of a ‘good’ boss as these people have a lot to teach us…

More companies are beginning to realize that a good boss is not just someone who ‘gets the job done’ or ‘delivers results’ but in fact is a skilled person who can identify, work alongside, and build on the talents of the staff.  I interviewed many sources for this article and most  agreed that open and honest communication was important for maintaining a healthy working environment, of course the boss is a busy person just as the employee is but spending a few minutes to chat with and get to know the employees does go a long way.  According to one source a good boss is ‘someone who chats with you but never gossips about you’.

Andrew Schrage of the Money Crashers personal finance blog had this to say –  I would describe my relationship with my boss as friendly yet professional. She takes a deep interest in who I am as a person and who I am as a professional at the same time. My boss takes time out of her busy schedule to talk to me as a friend by asking questions about my family or what I did on the weekend, but then she is down to business when it’s time to work. On a professional level, she has a vested interest that my work is not just a job, but a career, and is always challenging me just a little beyond my comfort zone so that I can become a more well-rounded employee. When there is a mistake on my part, she is always direct and honest with me and helps me find a solution to the situation.”

Needless to say the ability to chat with staff isn’t the only attribute that a good boss has.  Also on the top of the list was the ability to listen, one source simply yet effectively stated “They are good at listening at what their staff is saying” and I do believe that the ability to listen is a skill which is seriously understated… can you remember the last time someone took the time to truly listen to what you had to say, to allow you to fully express your thoughts on a subject, it’s a good feeling isn’t it.  And allowing staff to voice an idea or opinion can actually help to reduce stress as issues and problems are voiced and solutions can be found together, this is by far a much better working situation than when problems are not discussed, which can quickly turn your business into an unpleasant environment to work.

“A good boss doesn’t say “I don’t want to hear about excuses, I want to hear about results” when facing a challenge. They listen.”

When I asked the question what makes a good boss some of answers speak for themselves, such as –

“A good boss realizes that just because they are in charge doesn’t necessarily mean that they deserve all the credit for the work being done.”

“A good boss realizes that you have a life outside of your working environment and that sometimes life is unpredictable.”

“A good boss remembers to say ‘please’ and ‘thank you’.”

“A good boss does not publically shame or humiliate any member of staff, they remember that everyone is unique and everyone deserves the same level of respect.”

“A good boss delegate responsibility and then trusts their people.  They realize that constant micro-managing their staff is a one way ticket to stress, both for the boss and employee alike.”

Making simply changes in how you manage staff can have a huge impact on the working environment, perhaps taking a moment to ‘Look, Listen and Learn’ can help to reduce the stress in your company, create a happier more content working environment and reduce staff turnover.

And if that isn’t reason enough to make changes just read what Nikki Nash (of http://IsThatOdd.com) had to say of her wonderful boss Cindy – “Working for Cindy creates energy in my life – my best days are the ones where we sit in the same work space. She provides clear direction for the company and has a hired a team she trusts to execute on it. Cindy recognizes and appreciates when I knock it out of the park, and is honest when an idea isn’t going to work. By knowing that my boss trusts in my integrity as a professional, I feel free to innovate and execute. I trust her to keep me on course as needed, and because I know she values my contributions I want to recognize even greater success for her.”

I’d love to hear about your positive working experience with a ‘Good Boss’….

“Image from Stocklite/Shutterstock.”



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The Author:

I am a Stress Management Coach (also a Holistic & Natural therapist and teacher). I am dedicated to managing stress, resilience and well-being, my training courses and consultancy are designed to help create a working (or home) environment where resilience is enhanced and well-being is protected, allowing people to respond positively to challenges and perform at their best. I provide in-house training courses, consultancy and workshops to private and public sector organisations (also one-on-one sessions). I specialise in providing practical training for managers and employees aimed at minimising the risk of stress and enhancing well-being within the organisation.

Add Your Comment

  • http://www.tweakyourbiz.com Niall Devitt

    Hi Catherine, thank you for a great read and your hard work in putting this post together. My very first boss was a superstar and the impression that he left, I still carry and remenber to this day. The key point, which you’ve mentioned is because he was a fantastic salesperson, he was also a fanastic listener which made him an even better boss. I have a feeling that your first boss can be like your first love in that the impression that’s left can last the whole of your life :)

  • http://www.de-stress4life.com/ Catherine Connors

    Thank you Niall, I agree that a great
    boss does leave a long lasting positive impression, in many ways they
    set the bar for the type of boss that we ourselves could become…

  • RefreshingHR

    What makes a great boss you asked? We reccomend a book by Kenneth Blanchard called ‘The One Minute Manager’. Easy read,  very refreshing(HR) and will help you incease productivity instantly.
    RefreshingHR, by Proper HR People, for HR people. http://www.refreshinghr.com

  • http://www.de-stress4life.com/ Catherine Connors

    That is a great point Lewis, perhaps this is where a ‘good’ boss (by taking the time to get to know their staff) can make the difference… Thank you for your insight :)

  • http://www.broshegroup.com/ Evette

    Well said Catherine! To me A good boss is simply understands your work, open and approachable but the authority is still there, respect, and can be strict. Lastly, a great influence at work that could motivate you every time you needed to.  Thank you for sharing this helpful post. I’ve learned something and this is worth sharing. More success!

  • http://www.de-stress4life.com/ Catherine Connors

    Thank you Evette, my hat goes off to all the great men and women out there who fall under the heading of a ‘good boss’… I wonder if they even realize the positive influence they have in the lives of other people every day… :)