5 signs of an extraordinary boss

5 signs of an extraordinary boss

Christina Bruce|

People don’t leave jobs, they leave managers. In fact, a bad boss is probably the most common reason that employees leave, as discussed in this previous Workopolis article.

So this begs the question—what makes a great boss?

Here are five signs of an extraordinary boss:

1) Employees are informed about what’s going on in the company. Communication is an easy thing to lose in the shuffle. According to a survey, 36% of employees feel like they hardly ever know what’s going on in an organization, with a mere 9% claiming reporting they know what’s going on most of the time. Transparency is not only important, it makes people feel important. They want to know when decisions are made. How can you expect the best out of people if are unaware of the strategic reasons behind something. I’ve always said to my bosses, “Don’t tell me what—tell me why—and the results are likely going to be much closer to what you’re looking for.”


2) Employees are trusted to make decisions. You hire your team for their particular set of skills and expertise, right? Then let them use it. Nobody likes a micromanager. Trusting your employees with the power to make decisions is not only time effective, it’s incredibly motivating.  I remember quite distinctly the first time somebody said to me “It’s your call—you decide” on an important decision for a cover feature. Don’t think I didn’t work twice as hard knowing I was accountable if it was a flop.


3) A great boss doesn’t fear confrontation. This is one that not everyone will agree with. Yes, leadership is important. Of course you should inspire and engage those around you. But criticism is often (pardon the cliché) incredibly constructive. One study  found that over 80% of managers avoided giving feedback because they were afraid of employees having a bad reaction.  Being able to effectively articulate not just where employees may be lacking, but how they might improve, is a surefire sign of great management.


4) A great boss gets to know their team members. And I don’t mean the name of their spouses or if they have pets, although that is a nice touch. If somebody were to ask you about your reports, “What is his or her favourite part of their job”, could you answer? That gives you an idea of how in tune you are with the people around you. Knowing where people can excel (and it’s often connected to what they enjoy) gives you the chance to delegate wisely.


5) They learned by doing it themselves.  Managers, at one point or another, all started somewhere. The best bosses are those that remember what the day-to-day is like for everybody else. Oh yeah, and show your employees how it’s done through your own actions. Nothing is a better reminder of why you became the boss in the first place than being incredibly good at what you do.

Category: Management,