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