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Are You a Good Boss or a Bad Boss?

Take This Self Quiz

The word “boss” has virtually come to mean “bad boss.” Just take it from Steve Carell in The Office. If you know about “Terrible Office Tyrants” or TOTs, you know that everyone is capable of having their moments of being a bad boss or TOT. So that's why some self-reflection is always a good idea—to ensure we channel our emotions into manageable, socially acceptable ways in the workplace. Take the quiz below and see how you stack up on the TOT-meter.

Lynn Taylor Consulting
Source: Lynn Taylor Consulting

We all witness regressions reminiscent of bad bosses, with managers, employees, clients, relatives, friends, clerks, and just about every mortal we come across. Why? Because we’re all human, and whether we’re two or 52, we still share all the same basic feelings of fear, power, love, hunger, anger, wanting praise, recognition, appreciation, and so on.

Outward appearances are different, of course. You won’t find your boss showing off his new tricycle; or coworker choosing apple juice in a plastic, pink sippy cup over a designer label caffe latte. But all in all, the core, parallel emotions are all there. (Could that be why emojis have so much universal appeal?)

So here’s a different slant on the subject. The anti-TOT (Terrible Office Tyrant) or good boss. How do you measure up, not just in terms of emotional intelligence, but also as a leader and mentor? Take this quiz and see how you score. This is not a scientific test, but it’s based on quantitative and anecdotal research compiled over more than 20 years by Lynn Taylor Consulting. How do these phrases and adjectives describe you in the office?

Mark Y for excelling at the trait. Mark N for needing to improve at the trait; and find out where you stand on the TOT-meter.

I am (or this describes me at work):

  1. Offer an employee-centric culture
  2. Strive for talent excellence
  3. Candid
  4. Consistent
  5. Supportive
  6. Set reasonable, achievable goals
  7. Actively listen
  8. Good communicator
  9. Flexible
  10. Have strong emotional intelligence
  11. Hold myself and others accountable
  12. Show empathy
  13. Patient
  14. Know when to make tough decisions that are unpopular
  15. Make it safe for smart risks among staff
  16. Give constructive, clear and honest feedback
  17. Encourage and reward innovation and new thinking
  18. My approach with the team is humanized
  19. Treat people equally and equitably; I don’t play favorites
  20. Avoid being judgmental
  21. A good coach; I mentor others, but also learn
  22. Friendly
  23. Lead by example
  24. Share a clear vision
  25. Have a sense of humor
  26. Give people latitude to excel
  27. Admit to my mistakes
  28. Promise only what I can deliver
  29. Inclusive with others
  30. Value diversity
  31. Value others’ opinions
  32. Responsive
  33. Calm during crises
  34. Accessible to my team
  35. Give credit where it’s due
  36. Model respect and professionalism
  37. Embrace ongoing training and learning
  38. Support employees’ desired career paths
  39. Keep irrational fears in check
  40. Embrace integrity and trust
  41. Praise and recognize staff privately and publicly
  42. Show interest in my team and their long-term goals
  43. Demonstrate a clear vision
  44. Transparent
  45. Trustworthy
  46. My ego doesn’t get in the way of decisions
  47. Motivational and inspirational
  48. Act on feedback
  49. Give immediate feedback
  50. Offer a constructive v. competitive atmosphere
  51. Not afraid to embolden others
  52. Observant
  53. Willing to show my playful side
  54. Have a strong work ethic
  55. Reward hard work but also support a healthy work/life balance
  56. Support a team versus solo approach
  57. Don’t gossip or play petty politics
  58. Show the correct path when work is sub-par
  59. Want people to generally enjoy working with me
  60. Not afraid to hire brilliant people
  61. Enjoy seeing my team thrive
  62. Good decision maker
  63. Run efficient meetings
  64. Organized and expect that of the team

Now add up how many times you indicated “yes.”

- Did you score 57+? You are the anti-TOT…an amazing boss; congratulations!

- Did you score between 48-56? You’re definitely a good boss...and with some minor work, you could be an awesome boss.

- Did you score 35-47? You have some good boss traits but, caution; if you're on the lower end of the scale, you're nearing the TOT-zone. Consider reading about the subject, get some coaching and seek feedback from your team.

- Less than 34? You have landed in the TOT-zone. Definitely seek management training and/or coaching, solicit team feedback and do some reading on the subject of becoming a better manager. It will be well worth the effort for your job and future.

Just the fact that you took the quiz demonstrates you have the desire for self-improvement—the first step in becoming a better boss and advancing in your career.

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