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jca's avatar

What do you think a good boss should do? What do you think a good boss should not do?

Asked by jca (35976points) June 4th, 2014

What do you think are some things a good boss (boss/supervisor/manager) should do?

What do you think are some things a good boss should not do?

No, I’m not writing an employee handbook. Just through my work for an organization that advocates for employees, I come across this issue every day. Also, I am in touch with my previous bosses, and I remember fondly the things the good ones did, and I am reminded of the things the bad ones did.

I can start with two things I think off right off the bat.

A boss should not gossip (either personal gossip or work related issues) about their subordinates to other subordinates.

A boss should not disparage their employee(s) in front of others – in front of members of the public, customers, other employees, etc. They should reprimand their workers privately, but to others, they should be diplomatic and supportive of their staff.

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24 Answers

talljasperman's avatar

Pay his/her workers a fair wage.

flip86's avatar

A good boss should be personable, friendly, open to discussion and quite frankly, not a prick.

gailcalled's avatar

A good boss hires really competent people and then lets them do their jobs. A good boss does not micromanage. A good boss has systems in place for problem sharing and problem solving. A good boss listens well, listens often and listens more than he talks. A good boss cannot be a friend or buddy to anyone of his employees.

SQUEEKY2's avatar

A good boss Prioritizes , organizes, and motivates, their employees,a good boss does not play favourites,doesn’t intimidate ,doesn’t humiliate ,doesn’t expect anyone to do anything unsafe.
A good boss knows how to really listen to their employees.

zenvelo's avatar

A good boss gives guidance for people to do their best and makes sue they get recognition for it. He or she doesn’t critique a subordinates ideas, but actively discusses it with them to see if it will be a good initiative and how to make it better.

A poor boss dissuades active ideas from subordinates, takes credit for their efforts and their initiatives, and blames them for mistakes and misdirection.

livelaughlove21's avatar

A good boss knows what his or her employees do on a daily basis and, even better, knows how to do those duties him/herself. Nothing worse than having a boss that has no clue what the hell his/her employees even do all day.

elbanditoroso's avatar

There isn’t one answer to the question – so much of it depends on the industry, the workforce, blue collar versus white collar, educational level, on-the-clock or professionally paid, and so on. Each of these factors creates different challenges for a boss, and different approaches are required.

For example, a manager on the GM Assembly line that is manufacturing trucks will have different employees, and different management needs and skills, than the manager of a bank that is trying to do customer service for large account, wealthy customers.

And so on.

So there’s not one single approach that works for everything. Sometimes employees need to have a strong, aggressive, and forceful leader. Sometimes they don’t.

GloPro's avatar

A good boss is understanding when a serious family or medical issue arises.

A good boss insists you take paid vacation time.

Pachy's avatar

One of the most important things a manager should do is give employees continual, one-on-one feedback on their performance. These regular dialogues include pats on the backs when warranted and discussion of problems when necessary.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

I worked for a really lousy boss, one of the other guys nicknamed him Shakey for his brown nosing ways. That asshole would screw his employees to make himself look good and if anything negative happened it was the employees fault. If anything good happened it was because of his efforts. Needless to say he had a revolving door of employees.

talljasperman's avatar

The boss should not say that there is no more money left for raises and then drive away in his brand new BMW while you are working with unpaid overtime on Christmas.

Espiritus_Corvus's avatar

A boss should be everything @gailcalled said and without any of the characteristics of Dilbert’s PHB (Pointy Haired Boss).

jca's avatar

@elbanditoroso: Yes, but I am not referring to style. I am referring to general things that we should expect or not expect from a boss.

josie's avatar

What they should do is exactly as stated in the principles of military leadership

1. Know yourself and seek self-improvement. By properly evaluating your own weaknesses and strengths while endeavoring to improve those areas daily, you will continually improve your abilities and performance. This is an important trait to pass on to your employees for their own benefit and your unit’s.

2. Be technically and tactically proficient. Keep current with the latest technical developments in your field of expertise and know how to deploy your resources for the maximum return on investment. This is another great development principle for your employees.

3. Develop a sense of responsibility among your subordinates. Drive accountability down to the base level among your staff. Make sure they know that you will hold them accountable for their actions and assignments.

4. Make sound and timely decisions. Ensure that your decisions are well thought out and that you’ve taken into account all relevant information. Don’t act rashly or out of anger, desperation, or any other emotional state.

5. Set an example. Lead from the front – make sure that your staff sees you as a role model. Be visible in your daily activities and hold yourself to a higher standard – this will motivate subordinates to improve themselves.

6. Know your people and look out for their welfare. Only by demonstrating that you are interested in and concerned for your employees’ welfare will you win their loyalty. A good leader is a compassionate listener and understands what motivates his team. Do you convey an attitude of “I’m in it with you” or “I’m looking out for myself and you are all on your own”?

7. Keep your people informed. Information is the life’s blood of any organization and only good if it is shared across the widest possible spectrum. Be sure to communicate promptly – good information received too late can be the same as bad or no information at all. Share your ideas and knowledge with your staff – this will make them feel included and valuable.

8. Seek responsibility and take responsibility for your actions. Be prepared for your next assignment and take charge of all areas of responsibility. If a mistake is made, stand up and take the heat. By doing so, you will demonstrate a key principle of leadership: we are all fallible and make mistakes, but it is how we respond to our mistakes that separates the professionals from the pretenders.

9. Ensure assigned tasks are understood, supervised, and accomplished. Trust your employees to do their jobs, but verify that assignments have been completed to your standards. While you shouldn’t hover and micromanage tasks, you also should not wait until a deadline to discover that it was done poorly or improperly. The military excels at giving briefings and status reports. When your staff is able to provide you with positive, comprehensive updates, they’ll feel encouraged and you’ll know that the project is on track. If it’s not, then you can offer advice and guidance on how to get back on track.

10. Train your people as a team. Have your staff work together as a team and cross train on each other’s responsibilities. This allows them to utilize each other’s strengths and to feed off of the team synergy. Teamwork develops a sense of shared responsibility and commitment to the objective. You’ll also have backup in the event of a team member’s prolonged absence.

11. Employ your team in accordance with its capabilities. Know your limitations and those of your people and department. Don’t take on more than you should. By knowing your limitations, you’ll know when to call in the reinforcements or when to say “no.”

What they should NOT do is fuck employees or gripe to employees about other employees.

CWOTUS's avatar

A good boss sets clear goals and expectations with measurable outputs, establishes policies that can be comprehended and followed (and follows them himself), reviews performance objectively in terms of the goals, expectations and policies that have been established, pay employees fairly based upon the quantifiable objectives and the available budget, and should provide a method for resolving disputes that does not involve the rack or trial by combat – unless that is part of the organization’s culture.

A bad boss will avoid setting clear goals, will have dubious expectations that he will not share, will play favorites and allow some to do what others may not do, based solely on his personal feelings, will only criticize and will never provide positive feedback or compliments or commendations, will not follow the rules that he sets for others, will take credit for all accomplishments and disburse blame for all shortcomings, and will encourage gossip, innuendo, belittling – and actively participate in those activities – and will enjoy interoffice conflict.

dxs's avatar

A good boss should not be passive-aggressive.

jca's avatar

A good boss should not ask for opinions and then criticize the opinions that differ from his or her own.

Coloma's avatar

A good boss is open minded and does not attempt to mold everyone into a herd mentality.
A good boss has their ego in check and is capable of really listening to feedback and does not take an authoritarian approach.
A good boss would employ personality testing/typing and educate themselves as to the individual strengths and weaknesses of an employee, based on natural predisposition and work with them in the areas they excel in and delegate the weaker functions to those that excel in that particular area.
Some will excel in creative problem solving that needs flexibility, others in detail oriented positions, yet others in leadership.

A good boss relates to their employees as people first and foremost of all.
A bad boss is a control freak, takes no notice of individual strengths and weaknesses, is authoritarian, rigid, never wrong and cannot handle feedback about ways they could improve their managerial skills.
A great boss is me! haha

JLeslie's avatar

I haven’t read the above answers.

A good boss should:

Get to know their staff at minimum regarding their work life. Their experience and their career goals. I can’t tell you how many bosses I have worked for who had no idea the vast experience some of the staff had.

Identify problems and when possible let the staff help come up with solutions. This results in a buy in among the staff; they feel ownership and control and it increases loyalty and morale.

Give lots of positive reinforcement.

Recognize staff members who have helped you be a great manager, give credit where credit is due.

Depending on the job and industry, the manager should be like a support for his/her staff. I worked in retail and the way my sales people did their best is because they were able to focus on selling, which meant sometimes I was almost like their support, even though I was managing them concurrently.

Also, being familiar with the actual tasks your staff does is important to gain respect.

Be a good listener.

Share big picture goals when appropriate so the staff can see where they fit in the puzzle.

Things not to do:

The biggest don’t—don’t surprise staff with a bad review. Staff should know where they stand and how they can improve as an ongoing process throughout the year whether done informally or formally. There should be a general feeling of open communication and a desire for staff to find their right fit in the company and do a good job.

Don’t always have your door closed.

Don’t pass people in the hall without saying hello or at least a smile.

Don’t ignore the career goals of your staff.

Don’t ignore high turnover.

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synapse's avatar

A good boss sets you up for success.

Racquetballfan's avatar

A good boss should always be there to coach his people, not to make fun of them.

snowberry's avatar

I once had a boss who was famous for abusing those under her. She had me cleaning in an area that was quite difficult to access. In getting in there, I ended up stepping on something and breaking it. The problem was that although she knew about how fragile that place was, she avoided telling me not to step there. Then after I stepped on it and it broke, she chewed me out, and told me I would have to pay for the damage.

I said, “So you knew about how fragile that particular spot was and you didn’t bother to tell me! Did you deliberately set me up for this?” She was speechless as I walked out of there. She never brought it up again, and no, I didn’t pay a cent to repair the damage.

There were several other employees nearby who overheard this conversation. The next thing I knew I was a celebrity in that store.

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