All of us have had what we might call good bosses and bad bosses. The ones that we look back on with a smile and the ones we remember with a frustrated sneer. Over the years you may have had more of one than another, but most bosses are a mixture and do not fall completely in one category or the other.
When good bosses do bad things
Not many bosses are so consistent that they never have a bad day or make the wrong call. It is hard for a person to be good when outside forces tie their hands or they just overlook something that they usually are on top of. They may be having a bad day or are getting pressure from above to get things done. They may have frustrations because – face it – none of us are perfect employees. We have bad days and it comes out in our work. Bosses have to react or be proactive to keep up with us.
When bad bosses do good things
On the flip side, sometimes the bosses that we think are against us will do something to promote our efforts. The ones who micromanage may back away for a time. The ones that always land on the critical side may give us a compliment. It can happen. And when it does, we soak it in and hope that this is a new chapter. Then they slide back into the negative side of our charts. Oh well…
Since there are very few 100% good or 100% bad bosses, lets look at some things that make a good boss. This is my list and you may have other items that could be added. When I developed this list I realized that I should post this on the wall to see how I measured up to my own desires for a boss that I would appreciate. I fam sure that I have fallen short on many occasions in the eyes of those who work for me and around me.
Here is my list:
They Mentor Me
A good boss helps me get better. I know am not the perfect worker or employee. I have much to learn about working with people and software and projects and all of the other areas where I have to interact. When I get stuck, they help me move forward. When I make a mistake, they do not overly blame me and they help me avoid it in the future. They walk with me, they show me how and then step away as they delegate the task to me.
They Train Me
They provide training and allow me to experiment in areas where I have interest (and that benefit the company). They encourage me to try new things. They delegate projects to me and allow me to work through them. They challenge me with new things and do not assume that I cannot do it just because I have not done it before. In this way, they improve my value and build the company's ability through my newly acquired expertise.
They Let Me Own my Problems
They help me with my problems, but do not take them from me. When I have an issue that I just cannot figure out, they provide input and suggestions but do not take the problem from me. They are not distant and watch for me to fail and then step in to pick up the pieces. No – they are active in monitoring what I might be doing and if they see me falter, they step in and stabilize my efforts. When things are back on track, they step away and let me continue. When they have assisted with a problem, they do not take the credit for fixing it. They allow me to receive the small accolades for the progress.
They Allow Me to Make Decisions
As part of the efforts to mentor or assist me in my work, they allow me to actually make the decisions needed. We may discuss the options, the possible outcomes and the repercussions, but when it comes down to making the call, they let me do it. If they think that I am making the wrong call, they may continue to question my decision process, provide more input or ask me to verify some of my assumptions, but they back me up (unless it is a totally bad call). When I am convinced of my decision and they still think that I am going to make a bad call, they step in to prevent a failure, but they do it gently as they take the reigns back. Then once the direction is set, they allow me to continue. By being so involved with the decisions, they build my ability to make good decisions. That means that in the future, they can step back and my decisions will fit with their perspectives since we worked together to develop my ability.
More to come next month… Until then, keep looking for the good in your boss and you will find it.