If you had a family emergency how would your boss react? Would he or she interrupt you before you could finish explaining the situation? Would your boss say
"Why are you are still talking to me? Get going. It is always family first with me. Don’t worry; I'll cover for you."
Moreover, this boss will earn your full commitment. However, just as a great boss brings out the best in you, a bad boss will bring out the worst.
- 61 percent of those working for a lousy boss said they were looking for another job vs. 27 percent of those working for a good boss
- 65 percent of people with a horrible boss said they have sometimes misrepresented the truth at work vs. 19 percent of those with a good boss
Think of the people you know that followed a former boss to a new company. When you work for a great boss, you will work for them in another company. A great boss makes work meaningful and exciting during challenging times or even in an organization with a toxic culture. After all, they make work enjoyable and want to see you grow and succeed. Moreover, they have your back.
Whereas, a bad boss makes your life miserable by micromanaging you, blaming you, and holding you back, so they do not lose you.
Do You Have a Great Boss?
When workers describe the best and worst bosses they have ever worked for; they focus on qualities that are entirely under the boss’s control, such as passion, insight, and honesty. Moreover, all bosses can learn and improve. Rate your boss give him or her a point for each behaviour they exhibit, A great boss:
- Puts people first
- Shows a commitment to excellence in everything
- Shares information and is a great communicator
- Puts a lot of thought and effort into hiring
- Respects team members time and the reality that people have lives outside of work
- Is empathic
- Demonstrates accountability
- Delegates effectively
- Shows appreciation, says thank you, looks for success and ways to celebrates it
- Builds talent and creates leaders
Score each of the above ten items on a scale of 0 (never) to 10 (always) of the amount of time they exhibit the behaviour. A great boss will score 80, and above, a good boss 60-79, an average boss 40-59, and a bad boss will score below 40.
Each day you are leading by example. Whether you realize it or not or whether it's positive or negative, you are influencing those around you.” ― Rob Liano
Om the other hand, if you are leading people, score yourself on the same scale. How do you think each of your team members would your team score you?
Do you have the courage to ask them?
If not, you are leaving money, effort, and productivity lying on the table. You will lose some good employees, if not to other jobs, then at least to disengagement and lack of interest.
A People Builder
A good boss is better than a good company. A good boss would discipline you, train you, develop you.” —Jack Ma
A great boss has a commitment to excellence and putting people first. You hear them say:
- Good work team
- You are the best
- I trust your judgement
They empower, appreciate and trust your employees to get the work done. Team members are engaged and help each other. Your team meetings tend to be free-flowing with an exchange of ideas to improve execution and help people grow.
A good boss is a man who isn't worried about his own career but rather the careers of those who work for him.” —H. S. M. Burns
When your boss’ approach to put people first does not sit well with top management, they will likely move on or be driven out. Career satisfaction occurs when you have a good fit. Your boss may be protecting you from the bad behaviour of their boss or board. Cut them some slack and support them. As a rule, a bad boss will not stick his or her neck out for their team. They let the “corporate crap” flow down, and it ends up on your desk!
Have you ever noticed how often promotions come from a given manager’s team? That is no accident. Moreover, great bosses draw the best out of their people. They inspire, coach, and leverage the individual’s strengths. When their employees are ready to move on to new challenges, the great boss supports them. The most satisfaction I got out of my leadership roles was seeing my team members grow and do well.
A person's quality of life is in direct proportion of a person's commitment to excellence, regardless of what field they may be in." —Vince Lombardi
A great boss knows that high-quality products and services are designed and delivered by engaged team members committed to a shared goal and each other drives success. This is a simple and actionable formula for success for a business leader. When your boss is committed to excellence in all aspects of their internal and external dealings, they increase their chances of success as they:
- have better and more spirited workplaces
- engage employees, who are growing and preparing for tomorrow
- keep customers, who are happier and inclined to spread tales of their excellence far and wide
- are good neighbours with other departments and in the communities that they serve
- are reliable partners for vendors
These factors translate into bottom-line results and growth.
Moreover, as AI and robotics replace existing jobs, a great boss prepares his or her team to fill the new positions that will emerge. They do not view excellence as a metric. For these leaders, excellence is a state of mind, a way of being.
A Great Boss Respects time
A great boss does not make you feel that their time is more valuable than yours. They do not keep you waiting for scheduled meetings. They are prepared and get to the point, instead of trying to impress you. Moreover, they do not waste time on your time. While they may have fun at work, they do not do it at your expense, causing you extra stress or causing you to stay late to catch up.
Some bosses tend to see people as one-dimensional: they show up and get the work done, and the boss does not have to worry about them again until the next day. On the other hand, a great boss knows that work is just one facet of your life. You may have families, friends, hobbies, and other interests and obligations outside of work. They only ask, you to work late when for an excellent reason. Moreover, they acknowledge that they are asking for sacrifice and express their gratitude.
Opinion is really the lowest form of human knowledge. It requires no accountability, no understanding. The highest form of knowledge… is empathy, for it requires us to suspend our egos and live in another’s world. It requires profound purpose larger than the self kind of understanding.” ― Bill Bullard
A bad boss sees you from the perspective of how you reflect on them. If you are doing a great job, they look good; if you are performing poorly, they look bad.
A great boss sees you as more than an extension of themselves. They can understand things from your perspective. They recognize that you are human and that they treat you as such. However, do not expect them to provide a free pass if you are having a bad day; you must meet your deadlines.
Shares Information and Communications
Have you ever had a boss who hoards information? Some bosses think that sharing information with you reduces their power and authority. The opposite is true. A great boss knows that sharing information empowers you and their team.
On the other hand, some bosses avoid giving straight answers. They do not want to say something they can be held accountable for later. Others cannot be bothered to offer clear explanations and reliable answers.
A great boss says what they mean and mean what they say. Moreover, they say it in a manner, so you do not have to read between the lines and try to guess their real meaning. They invite you to seek clarity and strive to provide answers to your follow up questions. I like dealing in the world of facts and logic rather than the opinions and emotions that often tend to drive bad decisions.
A bad boss is quick to point the finger when something goes wrong. They will throw you (or whoever is convenient) under the bus without a second thought. A great boss knows that their job is being accountable for their team’s performance. They know that this goes with the territory.
A failure by the team is a failure of leadership. An excellent leader takes the blame publicly and offers solutions to fix the problem. A great leader provides their team feedback on the current reality, what is going wrong and then engage the team to act quickly to correct it.
A Great Boss Delegates — And Gets Out of The Way
Don't tell people how to do things, tell them what to do and let them surprise you with their results."— George S. Patton
The delegation of authority is an essential management skill. The inability to delegate is a significant problem with managers at all levels. The trick to empowering is to make sure your employees share your priorities. A great boss makes it clear how far each your duties can be stretched.
A great boss knows the strengths and weaknesses of team members. If they delegate something to you, they believe you can be successful, even if you do not think it. They accept that just because you do something a little differently than they would, that does not mean it's wrong. What counts for them is that your goals get accomplished at a sufficient level of quality.
A great boss knows that proper delegation techniques and systems can help you and the organization to be more effective. Naturally, you feel more involved and engaged when you think that your boss trusts you with essential responsibilities or activities. When we are required to think about the task, consider alternatives and make choices, our work becomes far more rewarding. A great boss uses delegation to balance workloads and provide staff development opportunities. Proper delegation creates a positive, motivating environment.
A bad boss sees the allocation of tasks as delegation. Dividing up and assigning work tasks is essential. However, it should not be confused with a delegation. Their past delegation failures lead to them to believe that "it is quicker and easier to do it myself." So, even when they do delegate, they tend to micromanage the assignment.
Hiring is A Top Priority
In determining the right people, the good-to-great companies placed greater weight on character attributes than on specific educational background, practical skills, specialized knowledge, or work experience."—Jim Collins
A bad boss thinks nothing of hiring a jerk with great credentials because they are only interested in how that person will perform.
A great boss thinks of the entire team. They recognize that their current employees are going to have to work with the new hire every single day. Moreover, they realize the value of diversity and inclusion and take steps to minimize unconscious bias in the selection process. They look for someone who will complement and strengthen the team, rather than fill in a specific skills gap.
We offer a best-fit staffing process to find the right person with the appropriate talent stack. Few industries invest as much into each “hire” as professional sports. In business, the success rate is under 50 percent to even get someone who meets expectations. High performers are rare commodities. A company finds fewer than 10 percent, top performers.
A Great Boss Says Thank You
Some bosses think that the work you do is something you owe them. After all, you are getting paid! However, a great boss looks past the transactional relationship and realize that you are putting a huge part of yourself into the work you do. They say thank you, even if it is “just part of the job.”
Recognition and appreciation are integral components of an effective strategic reward system. These two elements rarely receive the attention they deserve given that they are low-cost and provide a high-return. You like to know whether you are doing good, bad, or average work. A great boss knows that it is crucial that they tell you.
A great boss does not have a “Why should I praise you for doing your job?” attitude. They look for reasons to praise their team and you. Moreover, they do it both privately and publicly. A great boss takes the time to celebrate milestones. They understand that getting paid does not cancel out that inherent need to feel valued and appreciated.
The Bad Boss
Employees don't leave bad jobs; they leave bad bosses!
When you have an issue with your organization, most of the time, it has to do with something related to your boss. The superior-subordinate relationship breaks down due to a lack of trust, respect and empathy. For example, you often go beyond the call of duty then during your time of need your boss responds with insensitivity and inflexibility. This action will destroy your relationship.
You know you have a bad boss if you feel that they are continually looking over your shoulders. Their sole focus is on the bottom line. They will always be pointing fingers at someone. They operate from a power base rather than building relationships and influencing people.
The result is low employee engagement and morale. It is demotivating to work for a boss who does not stand up for their team. When you make a mistake, they quickly turn into judge, jury and executioner. Only disengage employees survive in such an environment. High performers will decide that it is time to move on.
I encourage you first to consider making a career pivot without leaving the organization. Career satisfaction comes from working for a good boss in a good company. If you find an upgrade to great in either of these, congratulations you are in an elite group!
A Great Boss Exhibits Different Behavioural Competencies at Each Level
We assess 85 behavioural traits in our assessment. High performers in a specific role share a standard set of attributes. Three to six traits combine to create our 29 behavioural competencies. Think of your strong traits as your superpowers. Your superpowers are the key to career success and fulfillment. However, for each role, you need to leverage your natural strengths and develop strategies to manage those where you not as strong.
The table to the right shows the top competencies at the three levels of leadership. Notice how they change. So, even though you were a great boss as a manager, you may not excel as a vice-president. You need to know the behavioural competencies for the role and what you bring to the position. You do not want to be another victim of the Peter Principle.
A great boss is hard to find, difficult to part with, and impossible to forget. Employees want good bosses. A recent study found that 65 percent of workers would rather have a better boss than a salary increase. A boss who has your back makes your work so much better.
You spend over half of your life at work and related activities. You want to work in a healthy environment with a boss who looks out for you. We offer the ladder of leadership. It is a behavioural competency model to help leaders at all levels understand which of the competencies they naturally have and which ones they need to develop to become a great boss. Organizations need to realize that money and perks will not keep great staff if they have a bad boss. A great boss is without a doubt, one of the best incentives for keeping team members, happy and engaged.
Seventy-five percent of CEOs are promoted from within their organization. Great companies ensure the there is a continuous supply of great bosses at all levels through robust succession plans.
|Thrives on Chaos||X||X||X|
|Demonstrates Energetic Enthusiasm||X||X|
|Focus on Results||X||X|
|Exercises Political Influence||X|
In the paper we share the competencies that are:
- Always On: Only two behaviours from manager to C-Suite
- Leap: “Bridging” behaviours for moving between each management level
- Lead: Unique behaviours for every stage of management
- Leave Behinds: The “once and done” list— suitable only for where you are, not where you’re going
We offer our services worldwide. Download the research.