Stuart Gentle Publisher at Onrec

What are the Qualities of a Great Boss?

Having a good boss matters and it can make a big difference to a team’s efforts and ability to achieve and surpass goals.

A 2015 study by E Lazear and colleagues showed, for instance, that when workers move from an average to a high-quality boss, their productivity can rise by 50%. Research by M Bertrand, published in the Quarterly Journal of Economics, found that top managers matter, having a big impact on the economic success of their respective companies. What are the qualities that make a good boss or manager and what available tools can help you achieve this aim?

Working with Defined Goals, Roles, and Procedures

Staff members who know exactly what is expected of them are likely to feel more secure in their jobs and to know how to plan and execute predetermined strategies. Good managers have a clear vision of team goals and they are also able to communicate these goals in an unequivocal manner. They are also open to feedback so that goal-, role- or procedure-related flaws can be quickly amended for smooth running in the future.

Avoiding Micromanaging

Micromanagement stresses staff out, reduces their creativity, and dullens their motivation - leading to less than optimal performance from everyone affected. As found in research by S Collins, over-involvement from bosses can contribute to low morale, high turnovers, lower productivity, and consumer dissatisfaction. Hire efficient staff and show them that you have faith in their experience and talent. Allow them to make decisions regarding how their work is completed, whenever they achieve set goals, hand in projects on time, and show good teamwork abilities.

Protecting Staff Legally

Employee rights - including the right not to be discriminated against and the right to receive equal pay for equal work, receive reasonable accommodations (owing to medical conditions, for instance), enjoy confidentiality, and report discrimination without fear of backlash - should be strictly protected and enforced. Employees should also ensure that workers who get injured or sick owing to work-related causes are protected by workers comp insurance. Staff should be covered against missed wages and other problems that can ensue when they are ill. Employees should rest assured that if something were to happen to them, they would be able to access qualified, caring professionals during every stage of their rehabilitation or recovery.

Supporting Staff

Great bosses are supportive, kind, and compassionate. They set high standards but also understand that staff’s performance is very much linked to interpersonal considerations such as motivation, synergy with colleagues and bosses, and the feeling of being appreciated. Bosses talk about areas that could do with improvement but they also congratulate staff on a job well done. They know to walk the sometimes fine line between being kind and being a pushover. They know how to reduce pressure after a tough goal has to be achieved, giving rewards for a job well done, occasionally engaging staff in team-building activities or fun out-of-work activities, and offering staff quality time to simply talk and connect during quieter moments of the week or month. 

The quality of a boss can make or break a business since management greatly affects the happiness and productivity of staff. Great bosses have many qualities in common - including clear goal setting, open communication, and trust in their staff’s abilities. They also know when to apply pressure and when to ease up and they don’t shy away from expressing their appreciation of their staff.