Everyone has a favorite boss; someone you remember fondly and can still turn to if you need a referral or just want to chat. On the other end of the spectrum, everyone has that one boss they hated. The kind that makes you think of Meryl Streep’s character in The Devil Wears Prada. You know the one.
So, what are the qualities that make or break a boss? There are no hard and fast rules that will instantly change your reputation, but there are certainly some personality traits that you can try to put into practice moving forward to make sure your employees remember you fondly.
We gathered quotes from c-suite executives to find out what makes them successful.
“They are respectful of their employees. Successful managers are not micromanagers, and they do not delight in making their employees feel small or less than. They show respect to them and willingly give them the tools to help them excel at their jobs, not make their work more difficult. Successful managers also give reasonable and realistic deadlines and are honest with their employees.” – Rob Chang, CEO & Director of Gryphon Digital Mining
Chang and Kaiser emphasize the importance of respect when managing a team with this age-old advice. You have to give respect to get respect, right? Too often managers will see their employees as underlings and not worthy of their respect, but they should instead see them as equals. This approach will empower employees and make them want to work harder for you. Think
Writing for LinkedIn, Business Director at Brave Spark, Rebecca Vickey adds “Respect is undeniably something that’s subjective, but it’s also infinite. It should be something we all endeavor to learn and practice throughout our working lives because there’s always the potential for each of us to be more respectful to those around us. That’s something we should all respect.”
“No one wants to work for a Debbie Downer. They want to work for someone who exudes positivity. That is not to say you need to be overwhelmingly positive to the point of insanity, but you should try to present things with a positive spin. Positivity has a trickle-down effect.” – Jeff Henretig, President of Apothecanna
Henretig reminds us that people can pick up on other people’s feelings and tend to subconsciously mirror them. By leading your team with positivity, you will quickly see those below you reflect the energy you are putting out.
“A great leader should be a great communicator. If you don’t communicate and encourage your staff to communicate, then you are going to have trouble making a real connection with your employees. And communication doesn’t just mean talking, it also means listening too.” – David A. DiLorenzo, President of Valentino Beauty Pure
Lorenzo reminds us that communication is key and it applies in personal relationships as much as it does in professional ones. Being able to communicate effectively with your team means making employees aware of expectations and responsibilities, listening to them when there is an issue, and working with them to produce results.
“Being open-minded is an underrated and often misunderstood personality trait. As a leader, you need to be ready to admit when you are wrong. That’s a big part of it. You need to be able to notice when things can be improved. You should listen when team members raise their hands and bring ideas to the table so that creativity has room to flourish. Don’t shut down ideas. Have a conversation and consider all viewpoints.” – Max Spielberg, President of Genexa
Spielberg asserts that having an open mind is a crucial trait and it makes your team feel comfortable speaking up. When employees feel empowered to speak up, ideas will flow. A good leader needs to have an open mind to hear those ideas and give them their due consideration, not shoot them down because they think they are the authority on all matters.
As entrepreneur Seth Godin puts it, “Leadership is the art of giving people a platform for spreading ideas that work.”
“A good manager is open with their employees. That is not to say that you have to update them any time something changes, but you should be keeping them in the loop. Good news or bad, your employees should count on you to tell them what is going on and you should encourage them to ask questions and give you feedback. Transparency should go both ways.” – Mike Pasley, Founder at Famous IRL
Pasley touches on the statistic that 90% of job seekers consider transparency a key trait in the workplace. Don’t be afraid, to be honest with employees, they can take it, and doing so will help prevent misinformation and rumors.
“Be someone your employees can count on. To use a well-trod sports analogy, you are the quarterback of your team. If you start missing throws, your team will start to lose faith in you. Employees need to feel like they can depend on them to get things done and to answer them when they have questions or concerns. Try your best not to let them down.” – Jacques-Edouard Sabatier, Co-Founder, and CEO of JOW
Sabatier knows that if you are leading a team you need to be reliable. Translation: make sure you are available to your employees and support them however you can.
“A leader that isn’t confident is a weak leader. Plain and simple. You need to be confident in your decision-making and you need to be someone who takes action when it comes down to the wire. Be decisive and have intent.” – Fred Gerantabee, Chief Experience Officer of Readers.com
Being a confident leader means that you tackle things headfirst with a strong belief that you are doing the right thing and Gerantabee knows that. Part of this will come from having a firm understanding of what you are doing and part of it will come from your gut. Make sure you don’t second guess yourself or you risk putting yourself and your team in a difficult decision down the line.
This also translates to handling pressure well. As a manager, you are routinely held accountable for your decisions and need to be emotionally stable.
“Now more than ever we need managers that are flexible. The world we live in is more uncertain than ever and we need people that can understand that and move with it. We need to let our employees know that we will make the necessary adjustments.” – Ryan Carver, Founder and CEO of Mallary by Matthew
Carver talks about the need to be able to pivot when the situation calls for it. Every employee is different and will require different management styles. You need to be flexible in order to get what you need out of each member of your team.
Good Under Pressure
“A good manager has to be able to handle the pressure when it comes down to it. You need to have emotional stability because you are going to have a lot thrown at you on a daily basis. If you are taking it all to heart and overreacting every time something happens, you are on the fast track to a breakdown.” – Lisa Odenweller, CEO and Founder of Kroma
Odenweller recognizes the importance of decision-making for a manager. That’s what good under pressure really comes down to. Your team looks up to you, you have to be ready to make a decision when being called upon from many different sides and you need to be able to stand by what you choose.
“Empathy might be the most important personality trait for anyone, period. You need to be able to express interest and concern for your team members and you need to really mean it. If you don’t have emotional intelligence, you are going to commit all sorts of blunders. But empathy is really just about being able to see things from the other person’s point of view and then reacting with a real understanding of what it is they are going through. There is not enough of that in the world right now.” – Carrie Derocher, CMO at TextSanity
Derocher hits the nail on the head. We need more empathy in the office and in the world. Being able to see things from the point of view of your employees is hugely important and will make you a beloved manager.
Chances are, you also had to do their job at one point if you are a manager. Try not to forget what it was like and remember that your team is filled with people. People who make mistakes and have families and are dealing with a whole lot outside of the office. Doing this will certainly earn you respect and admiration from those you have been put in charge of.
Implementing these traits and skills will go a long way in your journey to become a better manager, but don’t forget to bring your personal touch to the workplace. After all, it is YOU that your employees will remember in the long run.