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Can You Guess The Traits of a Great Boss?

Source: GDS-Productions

Recently we’d come across two articles that really sum up just what it is that makes a terrific boss terrific. Then we read another article which points out what not-so-great bosses do.

So we thought you might like to play a little game.

Read each one of the statements below and see if you can pick out which ones are the attributes of an amazing boss. (HINT: there are four.)

When you’re done,check below to see if you were right and (if you’re interested) get links to the articles.

Have fun!

A Great Boss

1. Holds formal meetings to solicit ideas.

2. Is transparent about goals and metrics.

3. Has a sense of humor and humility.

4. Encourages learning and exploration.

5. Gives annual performance reviews.

6. Shares their vision.

7. Creates development plans.


1. Holds formal meetings to solicit ideas.

This is the hallmark of a poor boss, according to Jeff Haden at Inc. His advice: “You don't need a meeting to get input. When employees know you listen, they bring ideas to you.”

2. Is transparent about goals and metrics.

If you guessed great boss, give yourself one point. Entrepreneur Steve Tobak says, “There’s nothing less motivating for a good employee than a boss who keeps moving the target....Goals and metrics should be clear, set in stone at the beginning of the time period and measured at the end.”

3. Has a sense of humor and humility.

A pretty easy one, hopefully. Again, Steve Tobak claims, “The best bosses know themselves pretty well. They’re comfortable in their own skin. And they treat others with the respect they deserve – no more, no less. “

4. Encourages learning and exploration

President of PSquared Digital Peter Platt (say that three times fast) advises, “As a good boss, set aside time and budget for training -- and make sure your team takes advantage of it. It can be as simple as encouraging folks to take time to watch TED Talks, check out the latest tech release videos on YouTube, and, most importantly, encouraging your team to attend in-person events and training sessions.”

5. Gives annual performance reviews.

If you guessed good boss, sorry. Jeff Haden maintains, “The best feedback happens on the spot when it makes the most impact, either as praise and encouragement or as training and suggestions for improvement. Waiting for a scheduled review is the lazy way out.”

6. Shares their vision

Peter Platt believes this is most important aspect for a truly outstanding boss. He says, “The best way to truly inspire people is to help them understand the overall goals and how their part fits in. Coming back to the office after a meeting with a client and telling each team member (ideally collectively) how they helped make the effort successful makes everyone more engaged and feeling rewarded.”

7. Creates development plans.

Hope you didn’t guess awesome boss for this one. Jeff Haden puts development plans in the same sinking boat as he does annual performance reviews. “They are largely a corporate construct. You should know what each of your employees hopes to achieve: skills and experience they want to gain, career paths they hope to take, etc. So talk about it--informally. Then assign projects that fit. Provide training that fits. Create opportunities that fit.”

So how’d you do? Moreover, how’d your boss do?

Tell us if there’s traits you think are hallmarks of a good or bad boss. We’d love to hear it!

And if you want to read these articles in full:

5 Things Great Bosses Always Do, Peter Platt
What Makes a Great Boss?, Steve Tobak
5 Things Remarkable Bosses Never Do, Jeff Haden

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