Thursday, September 21, 2006

Good Boss, Bad Boss: The List

Good Boss
  • Is focused on being effective.
  • Knows what I do, what I like to do, what my goals are.
  • Lets me own my job.
  • Praises me when I take initiative.
  • Encourages me to take on projects that advance our goals at work and that also advance my career goals and are in my areas of interest.
  • Knows what's going on overall at work and has a vision.
  • Is very smart. I learn a lot from him.
  • Is willing and eager to learn from me.
  • Keeps our group informed about what is going in our wider organization and gives us the big picture about how we fit in.
  • Treats us like we are strategic partners and listens to our ideas, and lets us run with the ones that we have made a good case for.
  • Believes that people are capable, and interested in achieving their own goals.
  • Knows how to help people achieve their goals while achieving organizational goals.
  • The way he treats us is motivating.
  • If I had my own company, I would hire him.
Bad Boss
  • Is focused on feeling important.
  • Doesn't know what I do, or care what I want.
  • Tries to own the people beneath him and their job.
  • Micro-manges to the point of absurdity.
  • Gets angry if people do something without asking him first.
  • Yet is not helpful and does not know what is going on.
  • Is not willing to learn from employees, sometimes not allowing them to talk.
  • If I had my own company, I would fire him.
  • Believes that people are bad and that if you don't keep a tight reign on them, they will try to get away with stuff.
  • When he talks to me, I want to quit.
  • If owned the company, I would fire him.
This post references this post about bosses.
(Note: I went with all male pronouns for convenience.)

1 comment:

Nagesh Belludi said...


This is a well-thought list of attributes of bosses. I believe that every boss has a combination of these characteristics; the various degrees in which these characteristics manifest in his/her behavior makes him/her good or bad. The ultimate test for how one feels about the boss, as you mention is to ask oneself, "If I had my own company, would I hire or fire him".

Fundamentally, as you detail, a good boss is somebody that is genuinely interested in the supervisee's goals, aspirations and professional development. As I explained in my blog article, our relationships with our bosses are circular relationships: if we like our bosses, our bosses like us; if our bosses like us, we like them. A good boss understands this aspect and builds a strong relationship with the supervisee.

Sorry, URL is long. Here is a shorter version:

-nagesh (