By Jim & Matt
question often looms: Why do we work? Perhaps it doesn’t really
matter why — we all have to work to some degree or another. Some
people work to live and others live to work. Some find a balance
between the two where one flows naturally and seamlessly into
another. We spend every day doing stuff and it turns out, oddly and
intuitively enough, that the people we encounter and work with
influence our experience at work as well.
colleagues, clients, peers and bosses, all of those we cross paths
with at work bear some weight on our satisfaction, productivity,
creativity and diligence for the little niches we may find or
Let’s look at how one of these groups affects each and every one of
us. Most of us have all had a boss at some point, and many of us may
be a boss or have been a boss in the past. In this case, we’ll
consider a “boss” as any position managerial, supervisory or
executive — someone who leads other people. Bosses are important in
that they lead others through experience, vision, and honored time.
all bosses are created equal, however, and there are certain trends
that make for better bosses. Forty years of combined experience –
one of us with 35 as a professional management consultant and the
other with 5 as a fresh and reflective worker – have uncovered prime
examples of good bosses. To enlighten the modern workplace and
workforce, here are five examples of good bosses (and they are not
1) The Listener
— a boss who will listen to and appreciate different points of view.
This boss hears and honors their employees’ thoughts and
considerations respectfully, but with the caveat being they may or
may not put these ideas into action. The Listener listens to their
employees because they were hired for a reason. As such, they trust
their employees and value their input. Sometimes, they are even
dependent upon it. Listener, are good bosses because they encourage
insight beyond their own experience and vision, and because of their
employees input they are inspired and engaged.
2) The Empowerer
— a boss that lets employees run their own show and lets them learn
by making some mistakes.
a degree of trust and support, this boss cultivates leadership in
their team. Working together, they identify tasks and create a plan,
but let the employees decide how it actually gets done. The
Empowerer doesn’t delegate aimlessly, creating a sense of
subordination in their team, but rather engages employees from the
ground up in a focused manner.
Employees are inspired to take on leadership roles and collaborate
both with their boss and with others. These types of bosses are good
because they can simultaneously ignite productivity, personal
development, and satisfaction among their employees.
3) The Mentor
— a boss that teaches, coaches and guides.
This boss doesn’t necessarily need to be older, but a tad wiser or
simply just willing to share. They seek to understand their
employees’ experiences and identify which ones need or want
mentoring. The relationship with their employees is constructive,
meaning both criticism and praise are offered with the intentions of
growing the employees set of skills.
offer to mentor is either explicitly offered or subtly developed
over time. The goal is both in current interest and looking towards
the future, always geared to enhance the employees’ skills. Mentors
are good bosses because they ensure a future for the employee and
the company, while inspiring immediate productivity and engagement.
4) The Cool Dude (or Dudette)
— a boss that has fun and lets their employees have fun.
This boss maintains a certain aura of authority while creating a
likable and lively atmosphere. They let their employees enjoy their
time at work and find time for small diversions, within the confines
that the job still gets done … and done well.
those instances, this boss rewards their employees with time off or
special workplace events within the realm of a respectable workplace
culture. Cool Dudes or Dudettes are good bosses because they
understand that all employees are people, that all people need some
kind of fun, and that happy employees are healthy, productive and
5) The Creator
— a boss who inspires invention and creativity.
This boss pushes the limits of their employees to ignite innovation.
They challenge intellect and question the status quo, so that new
products and ideas are developed from within. The Creator embodies
the spirit of imagination and is never overly demanding. Creativity
and invention come from a unique mindset, so this boss correctly
identifies those in their team that are keen to this way of
thinking. As such, Creators are good bosses because they are
motivational and collaborative.
These five bosses, or rather their respective characteristics,
exemplify what makes for healthy leadership within organizations.
While many bosses may embody some or even all of these
characteristics, the best ones are able to reflect upon their own
natural inclinations and experiences, leveraging their assets and
helping overcome areas of weakness.
Common trends amongst these five good bosses make for a great boss
as well — collaborative, communicative, engaging, and inspirational.
Our new co-generational world is crying out for leaders — of all
ages and generations.
Jim Finkelstein is a
leader of people in business, with over 34 years of consulting and
corporate experience. He has specialized in business and people
strategy, motivation and reward, and organizational assessment,
development, communications and transformation.
His experience includes
a partnership in a Big Five firm, CEO of a professional services
firm, corporate executive for Fortune 500 companies, and
entrepreneur of his current company FutureSense.
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