Good Boss-Bad Boss

Good boss-bad boss: How can you tell what you’re in for?

Obviously, you want to know you’re getting the best boss before you start working for him/her. However, sometimes you wind up with a bad boss even when you thought you made a careful choice. Moreover, you might find out that Mr. Hyde turns into Dr. Jekyll only in certain situations.Good Boss-Bad Boss

When Should You Evaluate Potential Bosses?

Ideally, you should start asking yourself (and sometimes other people) at least a few pointed questions during the interview process. When you interview with your prospective boss, what message is he/she sending in your direction?

This doesn’t refer so much to personality as to how the person interacts with those who might become employees. Someone can have a fairly forceful personality and yet communicate with respect and courtesy to potential employees. On the other hand, an overbearing attitude could mean the boss steamrollers over employees.

What Makes a Good Boss?

A lot of factors can determine how you might rank a boss. For example, does he or she build team morale or destroy it by pushing a win-at-all-costs approach? Your preference plays into it, too. A hands-off boss might strike you as near perfect or as wishy-washy, depending on how you like to do your job.

The main question to ask is: Will we be a good fit to work together? In other words, would you have to radically change who you are and how you work to support your boss and meet expectations?

Traits to Consider

Leadership traits or styles that influence your perception of your boss might include the following:

Mixes Messages from Boss

  • Communicates clearly or sends mixed messages. You need to know where you stand–what’s expected and what’s not OK. Otherwise, how can you determine if you’re doing a good job? A good boss lets you know those things. A bad boss lets you flounder and then chews you out for it.
  • Backs up staff in a crisis or throws them under the bus. When a problem erupts, the right kind of  boss stands up for his/her team against unfair treatment (as long as they’ve been doing their best) . On the other hand, a bad one lets you take the abuse or harsh consequences to protect his/her own position.
  • Builds a culture of teamwork or stresses superstar performance. In most if not all cases, a wise boss knows that better results come from teamwork than from having one superstar who’s not a team player. A poor leader might focus attention on the over-achiever and ignore the rest of the group.
  • Inspires enthusiasm and commitment or blocks initiative. Employees that tackle challenges with zest and dedication can produce amazing results. A good boss knows that and encourages it, while a bad boss strives to maintain tight control.Recognition from Boss
  • Gives credit where it’s due or hogs the glory. The best ones recognize your value-added work and share that freely with upper management. However, a bad one feels threatened by your work or driven by the need to keep the limelight.

Good Boss-Bad Boss Payoff

You come out ahead most of the time when you pay attention, ask the right questions, and use good judgment. If you observe closely during interviews and other interactions, you stand a much better chance of snagging a good–or even great–boss than a bad one!


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