Before I started my own freelance writing service, I worked for a few different employers, whether in my full-time day job in the courts or my part-time gigs that I often used to help supplement my income. While most of my bosses were okay, only one stands in my mind as being truly exceptional. In fact, although I have no current employees of my own, I still work hard to model the way this particular one treated others because of the respect he was able to earn and the things he was able to accomplish.
This got me thinking about what types of qualities employees look for in a “perfect” boss. Specifically, what makes an employer or business owner stand out as one of the best leaders in his or her field and how are they different from people in the same type of position who seem to be despised by everyone on the team?
After mulling this over myself and discussing it with a few others, here’s the qualities that we’ve come up with when it comes to being the perfect boss:
A top notch leader is first and foremost a mentor. By taking employees under their wing and teaching them what they need to know and do not only for the company to succeed, but also for them to succeed personally, these types of bosses are changing lives in a huge and dramatic way. Some people I know have even chosen their entire career paths based on one person who took the time out of their busy work day to mentor them. Talk about an honor!
Certainly, business is business, but there are also times when employees need just a little bit of compassion. For instance, if they have a family member who has fallen ill, lost a loved one, are in the process of a divorce, or are going through some other extremely traumatic event, a little bit of compassion goes a long way. This can be shown by simply asking if they’re okay, seeing if there are any services they need, or even just being understanding if they have to spend time off work to tend to their needs.
There are some bosses that have to constantly push their employees to reach higher levels and others that bring this desire out almost effortlessly in their staff. How do you become the latter and not the former? Monster suggests that you show confidence in your employees’ abilities, listen to what they say (and don’t say), and that you’re honest with them “in both words and actions.” Do these things and you’ll likely inspire them to be a better person and employee.
Part of the Team
There are bosses who do nothing more than supervise and delegate and then there are bosses who are willing to get into the trenches with you, working just as hard. When I was in various leadership roles, I always strove to be the one who was right there beside my team because I had a motto that “I will never ask you to do something that I’m not also willing to do myself.” This is often referred to as “leading by example” and can help you gain respect from your team. As a bonus, you’ll probably also notice that when you do this, they are usually much more willing to jump in when you need help.
Treats Everyone the Same
Of course, no two people are the same, but there’s not much worse than working for someone who treats other employees better (or worse) than they treat you. Ultimately it creates a discord and pits one member of the staff against the others. A great boss recognizes this and treats everyone the same, regardless of their position, level of education, or length of time with the company. Everyone is a treasured member of the team and feels like one.
There are no hidden agendas or going behind others’ backs when it comes to being a stellar boss. As Donna Eigen writes in the Houston Chronicle, these types of business leaders “engage in open, honest communication that is frequent, relevant, and authentic.” Think about that when you’re talking to members of your staff. Are you sharing information often enough to keep them in the loop? Is what you’re saying relevant to their specific job or position? Finally, are you authentic in your words, using a genuineness that says you care, trust, and can be trusted?
These are just a few of the qualities that we’ve talked about. What others do you think need to be added to the list? Share them below! I’d love to hear about them!
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