5 boss traits


4th December, 2018

What makes a great boss?

Having a great boss can be the difference from rolling up to work with fire in the belly to muting the alarm and not showing up at all. So what makes a great boss?

We can all do with great bosses no matter what job we do.

A boss can either offer support and guidance or load more stress to our working lives.

What is the secret sauce of a great boss? We’re all ears for you to tell us – but we’ve got a few ideas.

1. Seeing you as a human

Managers can adopt a top-down organisational view where KPIs of operational efficiency and output are top of mind, making them gaze over the business as a machine.

But nobody wants to be a mere cog in a machine, to be replaced at whim when the numbers in a spreadsheet don’t look right.

Humans want to be treated like (drum roll) humans.

A great boss knows your name, which football team you support, or which ball game for that matter, and is open to having a laugh or two.

They know sometimes life gets in the way of you shining on the job at maximum efficiency – be it an emergency at your kid’s school or you just need a mental health day.

There’s a reason why people like their work to be flexible. Yes, it’s convenient, but it also reminds them they’re human and their boss sees them as such, not a cost on a spreadsheet.

2. Being in the trenches with you

A sure way to nudge an employee towards the job ads is when their boss shows complete disconnection with the minutiae affecting the job at hand.

You know the type – they stomp in when an output isn’t achieved, demanding to know why it happened without seeing the roadblocks you faced along the way.

Having somebody who appreciates the things that are way out of your control – so you’re not justifying each tiny decision you make while performing your role.

If they grasp what’s involved in your day-to-day tasks, they can also help guide potential solutions to problems rather than the vague refrain, “You just need to lift your game!”. Where does that take you?

3. Creating development opportunities

Great bosses want to develop your education as a professional and a person. They know the better you’re educated, the better job you can do for customers.

They know that people are keen to grow and these bosses find ways for you to use that thirst for knowledge.

These bosses feel proud when they see an employee master new talents. They don’t shudder in fear that you’ll take your fancy new skillset straight to a new company.

Such bosses ultimately know a company that actively helps staff grow has a much better shot at employee retention than one who doesn’t blink at revolving-door workers.

4. Stepping up to a tough conversation when needed

Being a boss isn’t all about being a happy, smiley person – especially those tough conversations have to happen with employees.

To prod, poke and challenge the employee’s performance sore points to get the best out of them is necessary, and to focus that staffer’s attention to do the best themselves.

But a great boss will know how to handle those conversations without the barbs.

A bad boss may fuel the flames in such conversations towards yelling and scolding, but this approach won’t navigate problems to their solutions.

5. Inspiring staff

A great boss shows their employees their expected standards by embedding those standards in their own work.

Think Richie McCaw foraging around at the breakdown.

Being a great boss isn’t about telling people what to do and when to do it. The expectations are clearly laid out so employees go about matching those expectations.

If bosses don’t measure up, how can they lead with authority?