Do You Have a Great Boss? Are YOU One?

You might be working for a really good company and happy with everything–EXCEPT your boss. If he/she is not even a good boss, let alone a great one, your work environment is probably what we call toxic. More than likely, you want out!

How to Tell if You Have a really Bad BossDepositphotos_4728109_m-2015

For the most part, this one is easy. Your boss makes life miserable for you from the time you arrive in the morning until you leave at night–and beyond. He/she throws enough stress your way to make even the strongest person want to head for the hills.

There isn't enough blame to go aroundYour boss might not be a screamer, but there are other ways of making you suffer that are less obvious. For instance, he/she could be the kind of person who doesn’t believe in taking the blame when things go wrong on his/her watch–even if that’s where the buck should be stopping. When you’re made the scapegoat for something you had little or no control over, that’s definitely a sign of a bad boss.

It might also be a sign that you should consider jumping ship at the earliest possible moment.

How Do You Know You Have a Great Boss?

Maybe this should be a no-brainer, too. If you get up in the morning enthusiastic about going to work that day, odds-are you have a good-to-great boss who does a lot to make that possible. But let’s get a little more specific and drill-down to some of the qualities and characteristics of that boss that make him/her a pleasure to work for.

A recent article by Dr. Travis Bradberry titled, “Unique Things Great Bosses Do Every Day” has some sage wisdom we can probably all benefit from. The article starts out by saying, “We’ve all heard the adage, ‘People don’t leave bad jobs; they leave bad bosses.’ It makes great fodder for after-work gripe sessions, but is there really any data to back the claim up? As it turns out, there’s a ton.”

He goes on to cite some of the statistics, such as the fact that 61% of employees working for a bad boss were looking for a new job while only 27% of those working for a good boss were considering other options. Most telling, though, was that people who worked for a bad boss were more likely to let their own behavior slide into actions that were at least ethically questionable, if not worse.

Bradberry goes on to describe a high-level view of what great bosses do:


“[They] change us for the better. They see more in us than we see in ourselves, and they help us learn to see it too. They dream big and show us all the great things we can accomplish.”

What might that kind of boss do that others don’t? Here are a few examples from Bradberry’s list:

  • Shares information
  • Looks for and celebrates wins
  • Respects your time
  • Says thank you
  • Doesn’t forget that people have lives outside of work

Are You  a Great Boss?

I’m sure I’ve said this before, but being a great boss is something we can all aspire to if we want to manage–and even better, lead–an amazing, high-performing team.

It starts with putting yourself in the place of your employees and remembering how you felt about the way your boss(es) led or didn’t lead you. It includes observing the actions and overall behavior of bosses you’ve encountered over the years and emulating attitudes and behaviors you find worthy of respect while avoiding those you don’t want to exhibit as a boss.

Basically, you have to want to be a great boss and then be willing to take appropriate action to make sure that’s who you are.

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