7 Signs of Truly Great Bosses

7 Signs of Truly Great Bosses

John Eades 28/03/2018 8

"I don't think I am cut out for it John. My hiring manager just offered me a big-time promotion that would make me responsible for over 100 people! I am scared to take it because I am currently an individual contributor who gets things done. While I know the responsibility that comes with being a boss, I fear I would be a bad or average one the minute my new team doesn't do the job as well as I do the job."

Her candor and honesty were refreshing. It's a scary thought to think about going from being solely responsible for your own performance to being responsible for 100 other people's performance as well. While I know she is ready to lead and make the leap, her concerned are legitimate.

There are Three Types of Bosses

Bosses are categorized into three types; bad, average, and great. In our latest Welder Leader research, the vast majority of bosses land in the middle (71% Dabbler, Ruler, or Pleaser). It’s in the remaining 29% where the polarizing and memorable bosses are; bad (17% Exploiters) and great (12% Welders).

If you have ever had a bad boss, the words to describe them roll right off the tongue; micromanager, controlling, demeaning, negative, cocky, a bad listener, know it all and I could go on and on. 

But what about great bosses? It’s easy to use words opposite of the ones we used for bad, but most average bosses are good listeners and are positive as well. So what are the criteria that separate the two?

Here are 7 signs you should recognize if you have a truly great boss or should identify with, to know if you are one.

They are a Better Person than You

Don’t let this mislead you. This is about having a boss that elevates your life personally. They make good decisions both at work and home. They are principled people with strong values, morals, and conscience. 

Jimmy Collins the 3rd corporate employee and former President at Chick-fil-A said it perfectly on the latest episode of the Follow My Lead Podcast, “I had three bad bosses in a row and I finally realized it was my fault. I decided my next boss had to be a better person than I was so I could grow personally.” Luckily his next boss was Truett Cathy the founder of Chick-fil-A, who by all counts was an incredible man that has touched the lives of thousands. 

They are Always Teaching

Growing personally is one thing, but growing professionally is an entirely different subject. While self-study and being what LinkedIn founder Reid Hoffman calls an “infinite learner” is certainly important, having a boss that passes on wisdom and knowledge to help you on your professional journey is a way to fast-track your development. Great bosses see the potential in you and work hard to pass on their knowledge to help you move on and improve.

They are Authentic

Some people have the rare ability to know how authentic someone is in the instant that person begins talking. Regardless if it takes you, 5 seconds of 2 years to know if someone is authentic. Having a boss that is genuine and candid with you is paramount. While I wish I had some special formula for you to use to be more authentic or determine if your boss is authentic, I don’t. It just takes experience and trial and error to figure it out. Unfortunately, even then the best at deception might not be figured out for years, if at all.

They are Moving up and to the Right

Truly great bosses are building or growing something. Whether it be with their employees or projects, they focus on doing the right things that will lead to success. It doesn’t mean they never have failures or a period where growth is stagnant but over time they win.

They Allow You to Express Yourself and Value your Opinion

Bill Barnett the great strategist and professor at Stanford said, “great leaders know it’s not their job to know the future.” He is right, no one can know the future but great leaders know it’s their job to be ready to win in the future. In order to do that people must have the freedom to express themselves and come up with ideas for innovation. The best bosses provide a platform to do this by encouraging ideation and valuing your opinion.

They Ask For and Give Constructive Feedback

Bill Gates said it best, “we all need people who give us feedback, that’s how we improve.” Great bosses not only give their team constructive feedback to improve performance but they ask for feedback to help improve themselves. After researching over 20,000 leaders the weakest competency we have found across the board is being vulnerable/asking for feedback.

If you have made the decisions to take a promotion to organizational leadership or are already leading a team if you put these 7 things into action and your people will love you.

Free Welder Leader Profile Assessment Through our work and research around what effective leaders do differently, we have uncovered the best leaders simultaneously use high levels of love and discipline. In the research, five leader profiles emerged (Ruler, Exploiter, Pleaser, Dabbler, and Welder.) Join over 20k leaders and discover what profile you are for free.

Welder Leader for Organizations Want to decrease voluntary turnover, improve employee engagement and help the managers in your organization become more self-aware and effective leaders? Find out more here.

About the Author John Eades is the CEO of LearnLoft and host of the Follow My Lead Podcast. He is also the author of F.M.L. Standing Out & Being a Leader, and is passionate about the development of modern professionals. You can find him on instagram @johngeades. He has set aside 20 speaking opportunities in 2018 and there are only a few spots remaining, learn more here.

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  • Adam Starr

    Great bosses aren't afraid to show their true personality to their employees

  • Philip Crump

    A great boss is someone who is always honest about his work

  • Francis Humphreys

    I have only had two great bosses in my career. Both of them made a good impression thanks to their charisma and the way they have handled stressful situations.

  • Patrick Vargas

    Nice read

  • Kumar Mohit

    Great tips, thanks for sharing

  • Brian Norton

    I don't agree that a great boss is a better person. You can outsmart him and get an even better position by putting more efforts to climb the ladder.

  • Charlotte Ashton

    Inspiring !!

  • Monica Shambler

    We need more great female bosses !!!!!!!!!

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John Eades

Leadership Expert

John is the CEO of LearnLoft, author of, F.M.L. Standing Out & Being a Leader and host of the 'Follow My Lead' Podcast. He writes or has been featured on Inc.com, LinkedIn Pulse, TrainingIndustry.com, eLearningIndustry.com, CNBC Money, and more. John completed his education at the University of Maryland College. 

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