Happy Boss's Day From the Bahamas
I had no idea today was Boss's Day until I got a cute email from one of my employees saying "If I had a nickel for every time I was glad that you are my boss, I'd be so rich I'd be mailing this from the Bahamas." It was so funny; it made me laugh out loud.
I also thought back to all the bosses I've had over the years and tried to identify who was the best and what the good ones had in common. We can all identify bosses from hell and come up with a list of behaviors that make a boss an intolerable tyrant. But what makes for a good boss?
Without spending too much time or burning up too many brain cells, the common thread was quite clear (even if not all inclusive). Using the very best boss I ever had (and who is still a close personal friend) as an example, I can say right off that she:
Clearly articulated a vision. When there was a goal, a strategic plan, or a new initiative she clearly and honestly stated what it was, why it had to be done and somehow instilled the vision of how we could get there and how much better off we would be. So even bad news was seen as a challenge to be tackled by the team and not a disastrous mandate handed down from above.
Drew on employees' strengths. Knowing that every member of the team is good at something she would emphasize areas of strengths and give assignments that would make both employee and the entire team successful.
Treated each individual like a whole person. She knew who was married, had kids in college, was taking care of an aged parent or was going through chemotherapy. Nothing says "I care" more than a boss taking time to seek you out and asking how you are doing personally.
Treated everyone equitably. This might be hard because "equitable" does not always mean identical. But it means everyone is treated fairly and according to policy. It means there are no favorites or targets. Whenever there was disciplinary action or bad news to be delivered, the employee was more likely to accept them, knowing it was fair and not personal.
Was always ethical. Her morals would not allow her to do anything underhanded or ask anyone else to compromise their integrity. She was honest; even if she could not divulge information, she would not lie. She did not betray confidences.
Did not micromanage. She gave clear directions, providing the support and resources to get the job done She would provide feedback along the way, but never insisted on dictating every action and scripting every conversation. She did not send the message that you had to be identical to her in motive, philosophy and action to be successful.
There are certainly other qualities I can think of. But looking at my bosses from hell, I realize that they demonstrated very few of the qualities above. On the other hand all my best bosses demonstrated to some degree all of the above. More than that, I try to lead by incorporating those qualities.
Do you agree with the above? As a leader are you guided by the principles above? As an employee do your best bosses demonstrate those (or similar) qualities? What about your current boss?