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  • Writer's pictureKristen Herring-Asleson

Good Boss vs. Bad Boss?

This week, according to the “National Days” calendar, Boss’ Day was celebrated far and wide. Boss’ Day could encompass many types of bosses, including yourself being your own boss.

But, for millions of people, they have the typical boss they report to day in and day out. Some have the most awesome boss around, while some, are not quite as lucky.

Being in my early 50s, one can surmise I’ve experienced many bosses, of all types. What makes a “good” boss? According to several women I asked, here are the descriptors of a “good” boss:

  • Approachable and consistent.

  • Provides feedback and listens to their employees.

  • Won’t ask you to do something they wouldn’t do.

  • Helps their team develop their strengths and work on weaknesses.

  • Gives their team permission to create, change, be independent and suggest changes.

  • Is hands on and knows the job they are asking others to do.

  • They’ve been in the “trenches.”

What words describe a “bad” boss? Here are a few descriptions:

  • Micromanagers and are rude, condescending and belittling.

  • Shows favoritism and gives those people special treatment.

  • Does not provide guidance.

  • Looking out for their own pocketbooks.

  • Does not allow for creativity or change.

  • Has no sympathy, empathy or does not know what the job is like.

The best bosses I have experienced embody that first set of words and more. They are kind, caring, flexible and interested in my success just as much as their own while providing firm, useful feedback that didn’t crush my spirit. The others, well, not so much. An office manager in a local therapy office shared: “To me, a good boss is someone I can trust to lead/guide me, respectful and checks in with me periodically.

A good boss also respects that family comes first and life happens. When I had my surgery or had to quarantine, my current bosses were more worried about me and my health vs. my absence at the front desk. I also think a good boss is someone that you don't hesitate to talk to when there's an issue or you have a question. It's important to have an approachable boss."

She added: "A bad boss is someone who gossips and makes you feel like 'Wow, are they talking about me like that behind my back?' Or someone that you can't rely on. For example, I know that if I am gone from the office, my boss will step in when needed and pick up the slack. They just don't leave the office hanging. A bad boss is also someone who makes you feel like you should prioritize work over life and family.”

Let’s face it, we have all heard the phrase, “Employees don’t quit their jobs, they quit their bosses.” The sad part of that, not everyone, especially bosses, believe it. Newer research shows over 57% of unhappy employees leave their jobs due to their boss, which could include who they report directly to or the actual owner of the business. There were a number of reasons employees in this study disliked their bosses such as: ignored obvious issues, did not resolve disputes, or did not promote from within.

Sadly, even knowing they are valued as an employee, the company culture and lack of communication can force the start of the search for a new job.

Two quotes resonate when speaking of bosses:

  • “Leadership is not about being in charge. It is about taking care of those in your charge,” Simon Sinek.

  • “People leave managers, not companies,” Marcus Buckingham.

Are you a boss? Or, do you have a boss? Which category are they, or you, in? Is it time to make a change?

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