what makes a good boss

What Makes a Good Boss?

I have worked in a variety of fields and have had a lot of different bosses. One boss who was difficult I had when I was working in financial services. I was having a tough time reaching my quotas so I had a weekly meeting with him, a meeting I dreaded. One week after spending an hour with a single mother, helping her create a budget and a plan to live within her means I had a meeting with him. He asked me why I thought I was having trouble meeting my quotas. After I told him I didn’t know, he told me it was because I didn’t know how to care for people. Clearly he didn’t know me at all nor spent any time asking me about my business. He just made assumptions. I didn’t last much longer.

Like I said, I’ve had a lot of bosses and I’ve been able to identify what makes a boss effective or ineffective. If you are a boss, aspire to be a boss, or even if you are looking for feedback to give your boss so he or she will improve, the following information will help you. Here are 9 things a good boss does.


This is a key skill for an effective manager. A manager who can listen will base decisions on the abilities, needs, and limitations of staff, resources, and time frame. Also, when people feel heard they feel appreciated. That’s something everyone deserves on the job.


A good manager needs to be able to give clear direction in a professional manner. A boss shouldn’t be vague in their directions, nor should they speak in a patronizing tone. A manager should never yell, make demeaning personal comments or use humor as a put-down.

A good boss will utilize the talents on the team to get everyone working efficiently towards a common goal.


Some managers will try to control every aspect of the work to make sure no one else “messes” things up. This can lead to stress with an overworked boss and a workforce that feels unappreciated and bored. A good boss will utilize the talents of the people on the team, assign duties to the right people, and get everyone working efficiently towards a common goal.


A good manager will know what’s going on with employees’ lives and their workplace challenges. For example, he or she can acknowledge the need of the parent of three to stay home with her sick kids, while also recognizing that the single colleague shouldn’t always have to stay late to compensate.


A good boss will recognize that employees want to better themselves and further their careers. They should not be threatened by this. Good managers will help find professional development opportunities and allow employees to take part in new projects when it is applicable to their talents, time, and career goals.


Very few people like to be micro-managed, but it can be even more frustrating to be given no clear direction and end up not meeting expectations. A good boss makes it clear what needs to be done and the time frame with which it needs to be completed. They will also be frank and fair about concerns surrounding performance, attitude, and behavior. There should never be any surprises in a performance review.


Everyone needs encouragement. A good boss is one who is always willing to acknowledge a job well done.


Respect means appreciating the people who work with and for you. It means sincerely trying to help employees through crunch times and acknowledging that having limitations does not mean being inferior. Being respectful means acknowledging people have different learning styles and ways of presenting themselves.

Sees the Big Picture

Finally, a good boss should always have their eye on the final product or the deadline. A boss needs to understand the end game and how to get there.