What should you expect of a good boss then? It’s easier to list the faults of bad bosses, but without defining the qualities we want in a good boss, what’s the point?
I suppose the point could be to have fun, because, quite frankly, it’s perversely pleasurable to be negative. That’s just human nature. Part of staying healthy and happy at work, however, is in knowing when to feel grateful. If you look under rocks all day, you find worms.
What should you look for in a good boss? Larry Bossidy, former CEO of Allied Signal, outlines his preferred set of expectations in a Harvard Business Review article, “What Your Leader Expects of You, And What You Should Expect in Return” (April 2007).
Setting clear expectations keeps you focused on what really matters at work, and helps guide you when things get off track.
Here’s a summary of Bossidy’s nine expectations for leaders. A good boss is expected to:
- Get involved
- Generate ideas
- Be willing to collaborate
- Be willing to lead initiatives
- Develop leaders as he or she develops
- Stay current
- Drive his or her own growth
- Be a player for all seasons
Knowing when to get involved and when to leave a team alone is crucial to good management. Effective executives know how to delegate, but they also recognize when a situation calls for their immediate involvement.
Good managers should take the blame when things go wrong and give credit to their employees for positive developments.
Managers should step in under three circumstances:
- When someone falls behind in his or her commitments
- When important personnel matters arise (i.e., conflict)
- When there’s a crisis
The boss should show positive moods and behaviors even during hard times. In a downturn, he or she should continue to motivate and inspire. On the flip side, when projects are successful, he or she should take advantage of the upswing. Quite frankly, it requires a strong character and a bias for optimism to be able to manage your own emotions for the benefit of others.
Not everyone should be a boss; in fact, it’s one of the most difficult jobs to do well. Yet everyone wants to get promoted to leadership positions. Perhaps it’s because everyone thinks they could easily do a better job than their bosses have done.
What do you think?