Handwriting on notebook with light bulbs as Leadership concept

Being a good leader is integral to a company’s success and tied closely to employee performance. In fact, in a survey of 1,000 executives, 65 percent said they would choose to have a better boss over a higher salary.

To understand what makes a “good” boss, we should look at some of the characteristics of a “bad” boss. The Predictive Index 2018 People Management Study asked 5,000 employees to identify qualities of a bad leader. The following are the top ten traits they identified:

  1. Poor communication
  2. Plays favorites
  3. Doesn’t show concern for employees’ career and personal development
  4. Badmouths people behind their backs
  5. Isn’t open or interested in feedback
  6. Wants to prove him or herself right
  7. Isn’t self-aware
  8. Betrays trust
  9. Doesn’t listen
  10. Puts his or her needs first

Some of the top words used to describe a bad boss in the survey were: dishonest, arrogant, lazy, reactive, disengaged, inconsistent and rude.

If you are in management or desire to be, understanding the impact you will have on your employees is an important part of having a leadership role. Survey after survey concludes that employees will be happier and perform better if they have a supportive management team.

Here’s are some qualities that make a great boss:

Communicates clear vision

Employees go to work and want to make a difference and do a good job. Bosses who communicate the company’s vision, mission and strategic goals clearly to their employees will find their workforce to become more engaged and productive. This gets employees involved and interested in helping the organization achieve its objectives.

Sets performance expectations

Research suggests that employees experience increased stress levels when they don’t have a good understanding of what is expected of them. Set clear performance expectations by providing specific job descriptions that lay out expected tasks and include employee goals.

Provides feedback

Sometimes employees may not realize they are not meeting requirements. It is the manager’s responsibility to coach and develop them. Giving employees feedback along the way can help establish a good relationship. There’s a sense of conversation, of leadership, and of cooperation.


No-one wants to work with a difficult or uncaring boss. A good boss is one who is kind, helpful, caring and compassionate. This does not mean that the boss should be a push-over, but rather the opposite is true. The boss should be confident enough to show their human side. Employees who work for a supportive boss are more likely to be happier, less stressed and have higher work output.

Recognize efforts

A good boss always finds an opportunity to acknowledge and recognize the good work done by employees. Whether it’s with a certificate, an award, luncheon or email, employees will always appreciate praise.

Gets to know employees

A great boss will stop by and say hello and take a personal interest in his or her employees’ lives. Employees feel valued when the boss shows an interest in their hobbies, family, and other interests outside of work.

Makes work fun

Having a fun working environment is something every employee can appreciate. Creating a fun workplace can be as simple as holding monthly potlucks, birthday celebrations, or door decorating contests. These types of small events are not only fun but also be great team-building exercises.


The inability to make a decision or letting decision making drag on and on is a trait of a poor boss. Good bosses are decisive and do not get caught up in “analysis paralysis.” It’s important for leaders to remember that how a decision is made is often more important than the decision itself. Leaders who make decisions with speed and conviction might not always get things right, but they’ll be able to keep their organization moving forward. Wrong decisions can be fixed, but indecisiveness will damage your organization and reputation beyond repair.

Is available for employees

Open-door policies are the best policies. Employees should feel comfortable approaching their boss with concerns or questions. An approachable boss is trusted more by employees, which in turn creates a culture of high morale.

Shares credit with staff

This is a big one. In many job satisfaction surveys, employees point out their dislike of their boss when he or she takes all the credit for an accomplishment. One of the most demotivating things a boss can do is either ignore or forget to acknowledge the input, contributions and work of others. It uplifts the spirits of the team when a boss publicly points out the good work and individual contributions that staff have done in making a specific project a success. It also strengthens collaboration and trust among the team.

Here at The Lee Group, we know what it takes to succeed and are here to help you during any stage of your career.

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