What Makes a Good Boss?

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Today was National Boss Day.  Wikipedia tells me that National Boss Day is a secular holiday celebrated on October 16th in the US, Canada, and Lithuania.  It is a day for “employees to thank their bosses for being kind and fair throughout the year”.

To my knowledge, this seems to be a holiday that is either not known about or just plain ignored.  I think the sentiment I was getting is that it’s ridiculous for bosses to have a special day where their employees should thank them.  Bosses get paid more than you do, right?  So why should you do anything special for your boss on this “holiday”?

Bosses are often the butt of jokes, being portrayed in movies or tv shows as rude, ridiculous, incompetent, and lazy.  They pawn off work onto their employees, steal ideas, kill motivation, and care only about the bottom line.

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The Office

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I used to feel this way too about bosses… until I became one.  I’ve been in management for almost 3 years now, and let me tell you- it’s not easy.  People think that there are all these perks that come with management:  higher salaries, the ability to boss people around,  and easier jobs.  What they don’t realize is that managers are the people stuck in the middle.  We have our employees coming to us with problems all day long.  Our bosses above us demand that we stay within a budget, and are constantly giving us less resources to do more work with.  There is nothing glamorous about management.  Your boss most likely deals with just as much shit as you do, if not more.  You just don’t know it.

Management for me has always been something that I was interested in.  Before I was a manager I would watch my bosses work and see how they handled things.  I would study their interactions with other people and think about how I would handle things if I were in their shoes.  I started to develop a list of things that I thought defined a good manager.  I expanded that list once I became one myself and I work every day to being the type of person I think is worthy of being called a good boss.

So what makes a good boss?

For me, a good boss has to be able to:

  • Be patient- nobody likes to see their boss freak out
  • Be understanding- not everyone is perfect, and mistakes happen.
  • Be friendly- your employees want to be able to relate to you somehow
  • Be thankful-  your employees can work anywhere.  They CHOOSE to work for you.
  • Be positive- a poor attitude will get you no where, fast
  • Foster a team environment- nobody likes to work for someone who is only out for themselves.  Your team is what gets results, not just one individual person
  • Communicate- your staff is looking to you to guide them on what to do and keep them informed.  Don’t let them down.

This year I decided to to acknowledge this holiday and say “thanks” to my boss.  He meets my definition of a “good boss” and I wanted to thank him for everything he’s done for me.  Management is not an easy job, and it’s nice to know that there is someone out there who appreciates the hard work you are doing.

No matter what position you are in with a company, it’s nice to get positive feedback.  Do you have a good boss?  If so, let them know!  We don’t need a special holiday to spread kind words to the people we work with.  Say “thanks” to your boss, I’m sure they will appreciate it!

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