Most of us are on a continuous, never-ending self-improvement campaign: we all want to be the best person we can be. Of course what that means varies from person to person, but it can be helpful to have a role model whose behavior you can model to be who you want to be.
Mike Mears is a leadership consultant, and he recently gathered descriptions and rating on 8,000 “best” bosses, according to their employees. When he tallied up the attributes that people liked, he discovered something kind of surprising. The leadership qualities that make a good boss are pretty much the same as those that describe a good person.
Here are the traits that were consistently in great bosses:
Mears heard about bosses being friendly by smiling and saying hello, being positive by showing appreciation, inquiring about employees’ interests and needs, and showing concern and empathy for them. Sounds a lot like being a good friend, huh?
A good boss shares their knowledge, expertise, vision, time, recognition, opportunity, respect, and power. It’s not just for little kids: sharing is caring.
It’s appreciated when a boss motivates employees by seeking their opinions and ideas, acting on them, and if possible, involving others in decision-making. Being open and interested in friends’ input makes everyone feel invested.
Good bosses listen and tell their own stories; enjoy one-on-one conversations; and ask what, if, how, and why questions to form a bond with employees. The best way to make someone feel comfortable and engaged is to show interest in them by asking them about themselves.
Really, as Mears put it in a recent blog post, this is all simply the way “our grandmothers told us to act.” So while all of this is good information to read, how much better is it if you happen have access to a walking, talking cheat sheet for self-improvement just across the office right now: your boss.