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10 Characteristics of a Good Boss

Rebecca Graf is a seasoned writer with nearly a decade of experience and degrees in accounting, history, and creative writing.


You see so much on all those bad bosses and compare your experiences with others. But how often do we talk about what makes up a good boss? Very rarely. How will a manager know that they are getting it right? How can we tell them what we want to see in a good boss?

Let's give them 10 ways that they can get a thumbs up from us.

A Good Boss......

  1. Good Listener - You need to be a good listener to manager people. Only then can you truly assess your employees needs and meet them.
  2. The Blame Stops Here -A good boss when confronted with a problem will not point fingers at one of their employees. They absorb the blame on themselves and the whole department. Finger pointing goes back to grade school. Problems could also show issues within the department which the manager should be taking responsbility for.
  3. Gets Their Hands Dirty - When the boss can roll up their sleeves and help their employees when deadlines arise, they are a great boss. They truly understand that unless the job is done and done by all, they have not done their job.
  4. Mentor - A good boss is one that becomes the mentor of their employees. This is a skill and trait that businesses are not looking for in managers, but all the good ones have. They grow and develop their team to be the best that they can be.
  5. Communicate - Since communication skills are at an all-time low, a manager who can communicate is a gem. They keep their employees informed so that they are not caught unawares and the whole department look bad. This also goes to keeping in touch with each employees individually instead of waiting to their review time so that any issues can be addressed earlier.
  6. Good morale - You can also tell who has the good boss, by the morale in the department. Not saying that they won't have their low times, but they will enjoy their job altogether.
  7. Provides Resources - A good manager makes sure that their employees have the resources on hand to get their jobs done. There are times when the company does not provide those resources so the manager you want is one who tries to think outside that box and still manage to help the group get the job done.
  8. Knows What's Going On - A manager should not be caught unawares of issues and even accomplishments in their department. If they are, then they are out of touch with them.
  9. Recognizes Employees - A good boss regularly lets their employees know that they are appreciated and not just at the times of their yearly reviews. You'll lose good employees if you do that.
  10. Understanding - A good boss is one that realizes that when emergencies come up in our personal lives that they should be more important than the job.

Unfortunantly, most of us would say that we have rarely had a manager that showed these traits. I've had a few and I've cherished them. They are the managers that we want to immitate.


Pamela Crown on October 14, 2020:

I think a good boss is humble enough to admit when they're wrong or when they don't know the answers and honest enough to say so to their workers.

Mel Carriere from Snowbound and down in Northern Colorado on July 10, 2013:

More often than not our bosses don't have any of these skills, much less all ten. I think the best boss I ever had possessed perhaps two or three of the items on your list. Have you actually had a boss like this? People like the perfect boss you describe are more often than not pushed out by the politicians that dominate the corporate ladder.

Jai89 from Cardiff on August 03, 2012:

good to know this. When i become a boss in the near future I will use what I have absorbed here and put into good practice and make a good boss.

thank you for sharing.

Regards Jamie.

Jj on February 24, 2012:

ELISE?! why the hell are yelling?

Chrystal on February 11, 2012:

This site and all the comments helped me a bunch, because I am writing an essay of good bosses vs. bad bosses. Thanks to everyone. P.S. I wish MY boss would read this!

Paula on January 22, 2012:

I was blessed several years ago with not one, but two great bosses. They both knew how to lead, manage and mentor their team to bring out the best in everyone. Sad to say they both left the company, at different times, and life has not been the same at my company....I will always cherish and be so greatful that I was in the company of both of these amazing women!

Scroll to Continue

ELISE on November 30, 2011:


MrktngGrl on October 13, 2011:

I'm a new manager who reports to a VP who holds all of these traits - he's the best boss I've ever had. The only problem is that at some point I must have let him down as he's very distant these days. I can't figure out what it would have been though to trigger a response like that. So one area that I guess he could improve on is communication. I want him to be happy with me and right now I feel concerned and miss his friendly ways. It is indeed rare to have a good boss.

Critical on September 22, 2011:

Spelling, grammar and punctuation needs checked.Sorry. Was going to post this in office, but not with these errors.

ahsima on May 12, 2011:

Recognition and good listener will surely become good boss. Thanks for 10 tips.

TheToddMan on December 08, 2010:

Nice job with this hub.

The 10 characteristics you've outlined boil down to just one thing - trust. Good bosses are trusted by their employees. Good bosses trust their employees to be exactly who they are and to get the job done right.

gill on October 17, 2010:

i am a good boss i would not expect my workers to do anything i wouldn't do and i know how to sort out personal problems with my girls and what comes first if they do have a problem but i feel like they treat me veey badly for this am i to nice

Glenn Stok from Long Island, NY on July 26, 2010:

This is a useful hub that helps management learn what they are doing right and where they are lacking. It also helps other personnel appreciate when they have a good boss. I added a link to your hub from one of my hubs on the subject.

Disillusioned from Kerala, India on May 14, 2010:

"Getting their hands dirty" - a good point indeed. But you will also find bosses "whose hands are not clean". You know what I mean!

For a change, drop in to have some fun about bosses:

cbris52 on April 06, 2010:

I really enjoyed this hub and totally agree with "Getting their hands Dirty" a true sign of a good boss!

activewriter from Heber Springs, Ar on January 31, 2010:

I concur. As a boss, I continually evaluate myself as best I can. I'm sure that I don't measure up all the time. Endeavour to persevere!

KellyEngaldo on January 22, 2010:

I am writing an article on communications - will have to link to this - bookmarked - excellent!

Anony on September 29, 2009:

I have boss with many of these traits, I can't say everyone is perfect but he strives to be. That is the best part, he knows there is always room for improvement.

Mark Meredith on September 19, 2009:

These are all things that I learned when I first became a manager. The better you are at these skills, the better manager you'll become as your subordinates respect you and trust you to lead them.

Harry Paul on August 26, 2009:

Numerous studies have shown that when employees feel they’re being treated well, all sorts of business performance indicators improve. When employees feel they’re being treated well, they’re more productive, provide better customer service, are more willing to seize the initiative, get along better with fellow employees and have far lower rates of absenteeism, turnover and theft.

clmbr on August 16, 2009:

I've always had terrible bosses until about a year ago, I found a great place with a boss just like this... the best part has to be the understanding, I got hit by a car on my way to work, my boss came and got me and drove me to the ER...

Apeksha Waychal from India. on May 21, 2009:

I am leonian & already a trait of being boss well its all about my sun sign....different hb

thnks...joining u now...

Kreg Enderson from Phoenix on May 01, 2009:

Good info. Sounds like we need to "be what we would want from others" if they were our boss.

Rebecca Graf (author) from Wisconsin on November 28, 2008:

If only!!! I had a boss that in the beginning was like this. I would go above and beyond for her. She began to change and my desire to be an even better employee went out the window. The morale went down hill fast. We now know it was because she was planning on leaving and had mentally already left us. It makes a huge difference.

Tony Sky from London UK on November 28, 2008:

If only they were all like this!!

It can make a big difference to the productivity and atmosphere of a work place if you have a good boss!!

Rebecca Graf (author) from Wisconsin on November 02, 2008:

Unfortunantly, most of them are not the right ones for the job. I honestly feel like most companies promote because they don't know how else to reward them not looking to see if they are true management material. I think companies have forgotten what that really means.

Thanks for visiting again!

Feline Prophet on November 02, 2008:

Sigh why was I always blessed with the Boss From Hell!

Nice hub whining aside, I'm sure there are some wonderful bosses out there!

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