Over 100 years of leadership research has pointed to the behaviors that make someone a great leader. See how your current boss compares to the very best leaders. A good boss:
1. Is Truly Concerned About Your Needs. A great boss recognizes what motivates you, and cares about your specific job-related needs and desires. The very best leaders take the time to understand their employees, to develop the relationship, and to get to know each employee as an individual. If your boss recognizes that you want a promotion, or that you know that you will need special support as you begin to start a family, then you have a great boss.
2. Is True to the Company’s Mission. A great boss believes in the purpose and values of the organization and gets you to believe in the mission too. Research shows that alignment of mission and values between leaders and followers is crucial to an organization’s success, and if the organization prospers, presumably so do the employees.
3. Is Concerned With Your Development. The very best leaders develop their followers so that they can one day be leaders themselves. If your boss takes the time to focus on the development of your skills and the advancement of your career – making you a better employee and person – then you have a great boss.
4. Challenges You to Make You Better. The very best leaders engage in “intellectual stimulation” – pushing employees to be creative, to think “outside the box,” and come up with innovative solutions to problems. This benefits both the organization and the individual employee.
5. Communicates Freely and Authentically. One pervasive leadership problem is that leaders tend to restrict their communication and aren’t as open and honest with employees as they should be. If your boss tells you what’s going on, and why, and does this on a consistent basis, odds are he or she is a great boss. Moreover, the very best leaders are honest, straightforward, and trustworthy in their interactions with others.
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Bass, B.M., & Riggio, R.E. (2006). Transformational leadership (2nd ed.). New York: Taylor & Francis/Routledge.