With National Boss Day right around the corner (Oct. 16), we’re taking a look at the 10 characteristics of a good leader. From exercising solid communication skills to maintaining clear expectations, we’re breaking down what it takes to be a great boss in today’s workplace.
Your boss is a clear communicator
The foundation of every good relationship, whether personal or professional, begins with solid communication — in all its forms. From clearly expressing opinions and thoughts to actively listening and even demonstrating body language that indicates an “open” and receptive attitude, a good leader will know that how they express themselves with their employees is just as important as what they are actually saying.
Your boss avoids micromanaging
When your leader in the workplace is a micromanager, it creates an environment where employees feel a lack of confidence in their own abilities. Having your tasks micromanaged can leave you feeling deflated and questioning your own strength in your role. A good boss (compared a bad boss) will know the difference between being a control freak and an active leader who trusts their team enough to effectively delegate responsibilities.
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Your boss celebrates the small wins
To a good leader, there are no distinctions between minor and major victories — and a win for one is a win for all. A good manager will go out of their way to express positive assurances and words of praise when team members rise above expectations and excel in their role. When an employee feels acknowledged and appreciated in their professional accomplishments, it incentivizes them to keep going and creates an environment that’s all about embracing team successes — big and small. “It’s the little things”, right?
Your boss is accountable for themselves — and their team
A good leader understands that being the captain of the ship also means bearing the brunt of the blame when someone on the crew drops the ball. If your boss is truly a good leader, they will hold themselves accountable for their own errors and understand the role they must play when it comes to managing failures within the team. While this doesn’t mean your boss should be the scapegoat for your missteps, it does mean that if your manager played some part in the problem, they will be the first to admit it and work with you toward a resolution and more positive future outcome.
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Your boss is all about constructive feedback
Feedback is important — but if the kind of input your boss is supplying makes you feel demoralized and undervalued, then this is not good leadership. A great manager will prioritize supplying employees with the kind of feedback that leaves room for understanding, growth and actionable next steps. While it is vital that your boss identify weak points when applicable, it’s equally important that those constructive notes not overshadow the positive and leave you feeling inadequate in your role.
Your boss is the voice of reason when the you-know-what hits the fan
The calm in a crisis, a good leader will know how to keep calm and carry on — without adding to the panic or leaving employees feeling unsettled in the process. In any workplace, there are bound to be days where it seems like nothing is going right and everything is moving at warp speed. On these days as much as every other, it’s imperative that a good leader steps up to the plate and leads their team in a way that instills confidence and positive vibes.
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Your boss is empathetic
While maintaining boundaries and a professional attitude are key traits of a good leader, so is the ability to have empathy within the workplace. After all, a boss’ team members are so much more than “just the job” — and it’s so important that everyone feels seen, heard and respected for not only what they bring to the table, but also for what they may be carrying on their plate. At the end of the day, we are all just people doing our best, and life can get pretty heavy. A good boss will know how to make their people feel seen and supported, without ever bordering on being intrusive, crossing any lines, or using your vulnerabilities against you in any way.
Your boss is a problem solver
Being a leader means seeing a few steps ahead for your team, identifying possible obstacles and working to remove them. For a great boss, it’s all about making things go as smoothly as possible for employees, so that they can confidently meet expectations and feel confident in the leadership of their manager. A great boss will never dwell on barriers, but instead work diligently to create alternative plans and courses of action that can help team members to move beyond the obstacles and get back on track as quickly and seamlessly as possible.
Your boss prioritizes a healthy work culture
We spend so much of our lives within our work environment that the results of a toxic work culture versus a positive one have a massive impact on our overall lives — and in effect, our mental health. A healthy work culture should be one where positivity, support, transparency, guidance and flexibility reign supreme. Employees need to feel as though this environment is one where they can learn and grow and succeed. A good leader will set the example in their own behaviour, encouraging employees to mirror the same and work together constructively in a safe and inclusive workspace.
Your boss is invested in your success
From tailoring their approach to the different needs and communication styles of their employees to “checking-in” with team members periodically to ensure everyone is doing well and feels supported, a good leader knows that your successes are their successes, too. From getting creative with incentives for employees meeting and surpassing workplace goals to investing in additional training, seminars and team-building programs, a great boss is all about seeing you thrive and playing a positive role in your professional growth.
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