There have been admirable ones and despicable ones in my working life, and some have had qualities from both extremes. All I know for sure is that I have never wanted to be one. From the number of incompetents I’ve known in the position, it can’t be easy.
No one is perfect, so instead of centering out one individual, here’s a conglomeration of qualities that good bosses have that are worthy of being celebrated.
A great boss is experienced and hands-on with the kind of work being done. I can’t stress this one enough. It always seems to me the further a person goes up the ladder of success, the less he knows (or cares) about what’s actually going on in the workplace. And strangely enough, the further removed he becomes from this reality, the more life altering decisions he gets to make, based on – well no one is ever exactly clear what these pronouncements might be based on, other than the almighty pursuit of money. Down at the bottom of the ladder we still know that there is something much bigger than money. There is a team of individuals who are equally committed to a purpose, who respect and trust each other and will succeed or fail together. (Despite the idiots sitting in offices pouring over financial spreadsheets and sending out asinine memos, or whatever it is they’re up to all day.)
A great boss is willing to work with you, share the credit, accept the blame, keep you informed, encourage you to learn, and motivate the hell out of you. Creativity is embraced and feedback is applauded.
Great bosses do not have blow-ups or emotional outbursts. Unless they are conducted privately in a sound proof room. Temper tantrums are recognized as being a poor method of communication. Instead they have a positive outlook and a sense of humor and can focus on opportunities. (Which is just a nice way of saying they roll with the colossal screw-ups, learn from them and carry on.)
A great boss has realistic expectations, encourages the best qualities in individuals and shows appreciation for a job well done. A pat on the back is nice. A raise is even better.
Perhaps the most important quality of all is the ability to command respect, although it’s not something that can be commanded and has to be earned. A great manager has to be able to manage himself. If his personal life and his office space and his agenda are all a mess, he will never get the respect and trust it’s necessary to have if he aspires to lead.
And that brings me full circle to why I am nobodys boss. What a lofty goal to be all of these things! The only one I have down pat is a sense of humor, especially as it relates to asinine memos from above.