One of the most common reasons employees leave their jobs is to get away from bad managers.
Great bosses — those that command trust and treat employees with respect — all have similar characteristics.
Some of these characteristics are: clearly communicating expectations, providing timely employee recognition, and showing empathy for individual problems.
Everyone loves to complain about their boss, and a classic Gallup study found that 50% of current employees have left at least one job in their career to get away from a bad manager.
When asked for clarification, the most common reason seems to be a managers lack of clarity in setting expectations, which is obviously one of the most basic of employee needs.
On the other hand, almost every one of us in business can remember that one special manager in their career who exemplifies the norm, who commanded our trust, and treated us with respect, even in the toughest of business crises.
In an effort to be a better business advisor, and recognizing that the answer is not usually as simple as a single dimension, I have asked my own sample of employees at all levels for a list of key traits or attributes they see in great managers, resulting in the following list of ten top positive traits of a good boss:
1. Clearly communicates performance expectations
Even your best performers don't like to be surprised after the fact by unknown expectations. One of the easiest ways to avoid surprises is to set deliverable milestone targets for each employee for every period.
Then review the performance versus the roadmap and deliverables on a weekly basis.
2. Shows leadership as well as management skills
As famed management expert Peter Drucker once said, "Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things." Every employee appreciates guidance on both—to do the right thing at the right
point in time, towards attainment of the organization's goals, as well as employee satisfaction and perceived productivity.
3. Demonstrates extensive and current domain knowledge
Good bosses demonstrate relevant expertise and confidence about that knowledge, as well as the common sense to make quick productive decisions. This requires continuous learning, an ability to think outside the box, and the flexibility to change as the market and technology changes.
4. Possesses foresight and skills to plan and delegate
Great managers make it a point to understand the specific strengths of team members, and then scheduling tasks and delegating to the right people to get tasks done within deadlines. The best managers are guides and coaches, with a concrete plan based on goals, not just crisis commanders.
5. Provides positive and timely employee recognition
Most employees are more motivated by recognition than by money. You must immediately recognize team members, formally and informally, when they complete something successfully or show initiative.
Over the long-term, make sure they get more positive than negative recognition.