Employees are only as good as the boss who leads them. This is one of the reasons that career coaches will often counsel clients to “pick the boss, not the job.” The person you report to has a major impact on your ability to grow in your career and to be happy while you are doing it. If that person is a good boss, they will not only motivate you, but also your whole team which will create a satisfying work place. Some bosses know how to manage, but not lead. A manager marches behind making sure his employees aren’t making mistakes, but can’t see ahead. A leader marches forward confidently, trusting themselves and their employees to follow. What are the qualities of a great boss?


Trust is extremely important in order for people to work together successfully and be able to give each other feedback. It is a two-way interaction between the boss and their employees. A boss needs to be able to trust their team to do their job well and get the work done, and the team needs to be able to trust the boss at his/her word and know that their best interests are being upheld. A boss who is honest, and will admit when they have made a mistake is tantamount to trust.


The ability to listen to multiple perspectives and then make a swift decision is crucial to being a successful boss. It creates a collaborative environment where people feel they have a voice and know that a great idea can come from anyone on their team. Employees feel that they can make a contribution which creates an energy that will spur workers to succeed. Even if a boss does not agree with a suggestion, it is important to make it clear that you have heard what the person has to say and then explain why you feel a different idea is a better one.


A successful boss reminds their team of “the whys” behind their work. This keeps employees inspired and engaged. To focus on the mission helps guide the team through tough decisions and makes it easier not to sweat the small stuff. When the boss connects the daily work to a larger purpose, it creates passion in your team.


We all have our peculiar habits and mannerisms. A good boss is self-aware and knows what employees have to deal with when working for them. When a boss is open and honest to their employees about their quirks, it enables employees to anticipate certain behaviors and avoid misplaced anxieties. A boss needs to be secure enough to discuss their idiosyncrasies with their workers. For example, a boss may keep his/her door closed so they can focus. If the employees know this, they will not misconstrue it as their boss being “closed off.” Frankness about your character traits will help a boss avoid misunderstandings and sometimes can even become a fun endearment.


Taking a moment to celebrate a small win or give a shout out for a small victory at a staff meeting is just as important as celebrating the big wins. Commiserating together after a particularly tough week can help lift spirits and create unity. A small thank you from a boss can go a long way.


If a boss wants employees to stick around for a while, it is important to invest in their professional growth. A good boss needs to figure out how to support each person’s career path. To do this, it is crucial to ask employees what motivates them to discover their unique strengths and play to them. You can’t assume that all people need the same things. For some, it is important to feel that they are making a difference, while others need to feel they are learning new things. Some people like to brainstorm while others like to be able to prepare ahead. Once a boss knows these traits, they can better create the environment that supports each worker in their current job as well as beyond their department or organization.

Letting Go

There is difference between micromanaging and helping an employee when they are struggling. Employees should feel that they can go to a boss to empower them to find the right solution. If they feel their boss will swoop in and fix their problems or force their own ideas, output and attitudes will suffer. A good boss will guide their workers and try to remove obstacles in their way. For example, if an employee is having trouble closing a deal with a client, a good boss will make the phone call together with them, allowing the worker to speak as the boss guides. Delegating is another way of letting go. Often times, a boss will find that an employee will do a better job than they could have done.

By using these policies and copying these qualities, a boss will become a better leader and their employees will succeed. Always remember it is a two-way street with bosses and employees working together. Talk about a win-win situation.

written by Tonia DeCosimo