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Old 11-19-2003, 09:40 PM   #1 (permalink)
Location: With Jadzia
What Makes A Good Boss

I posted this in my journal but it seems like a subject that would be worth discussing.

I've been middle level management most of my life.
It is one of those thankless jobs where you have to explain to the top why the bottom isn't meeting the goals and explain to the bottom why the top has set goals that can't be met.
While I was not perfect, I think I did a fair job.
So it gives me some insight into what being a boss is about and what it isn't.
In previous posts I have talked about what being support staff is all about.
Being a boss means that you have to make sure your support staff are able to do their job.
This means you don't micro-manage, discipline your employees in public, treat people like they are less then human and think you are above the rules.
A boss should be able to do any job that his employees can (perhaps not as well but at least be competent).
The boss has to be willing to jump in and do the scut work when there is no one else to do it.
a boss must be consistent and fair, giving clear, well reasoned orders.
A good boss is passionate about what is being done but not at the expense of the people who do the work.
A good boss does not lie, make up the rules as they go along, show favoritism without cause (it's more then fair to give a good worker who cares about their job a little extra slack), and must respect their people.
Last and most important, a good boss backs his people.
No matter whether it is admin, another worker or a client who is doing the damage, a good boss steps up and either handles the situation or takes the hit themselves.
I have worked for good bosses, mediocre bosses and terrible ones (I think there is a class in Chef school on how to be a complete asshole).
The good ones don't always get to the top because they do care for their people.
Often a mediocre manager who is good at sliding in and out of upper level politics will move up faster.
And all too often a bad manager will be moved up because they don't care and are willing to do anything to get ahead.

Have I been all the things I listed a good boss should be when I was in charge?
I hope so and everyday I learn more about what it takes to be a supervisor I expect I could do a better job.

What do you think makes a good boss?
Have you seen examples of the best and the worse?
How have you handled things when you were in charge?
redravin40 is offline  
Old 11-19-2003, 10:31 PM   #2 (permalink)
The worst are the ones who play with your mind & feelings just because the can,
and it makes them feel bigger.

They don't have a sense of humor, they have a "sense of discomfort"
seeing you squirm is how they get their jollies.

Just worked with one for 2 years...it was hell.

The best bosses just leave me alone,
I do very well at being proactive and keeping on top of things.
And I seem to do it more efficiently and better than my peers.

The only thing I really need assistance on is getting an overview perspective (things I wouldn't know about),
getting approval for things, and dealing with the politics that sometimes pops up.
(I wish I was good at that one)

The only thing I think most need to really work on is trying to keep expectations realistic.
Sometimes an agenda or not working with an issue directly makes them a little out of touch.

Last edited by rogue49; 11-19-2003 at 10:37 PM..
rogue49 is offline  
Old 11-19-2003, 10:47 PM   #3 (permalink)
* * *
I worked at <strike>name omitted</strike> and a manager thought it was cool to constantly harass me by calling me over the store's intercom system, to call me "buddy" and put his hands on my shoulders against my wishes, to make offensive sexual comments about women around me, to berate me for doing things that were impossible to do, to blame me for things that he was supposed to do and didn't, to blame me for things that other people messed up... and basically he attacked my worth on a daily basis while pretending to be my friend.

He was a bad boss.

Don't do that.

He's been fired and now he marks off people's receipts as they leave Costco. He claims to be a pivotal security member of the staff... HA!
wilbjammin is offline  
Old 11-19-2003, 11:12 PM   #4 (permalink)
Location: Canada
I wouldn't consider myself in the workforce yet, so my expertise is limited. I just work as a lifeguard to support myself through university, but I've had experience in a lot of different job settings: outdoors with kids, indoors standard formal, etc.

I think that's a really good list redravin, but I think rogue pointed out the most important quality in a boss.

The best bosses just leave me alone,
I do very well at being proactive and keeping on top of things.
And I seem to do it more efficiently and better than my peers.

The only thing I really need assistance on is getting an overview perspective (things I wouldn't know about),
getting approval for things, and dealing with the politics that sometimes pops up.
(I wish I was good at that one)
I think a good boss finds out what each of his workers needs from him. By doing this, you accomplish a lot of your goals as a boss immediately. You're showing your workers that you do respect them, and that they aren't working for you, you're working together. Rogue doesn't need a boss to keep on him about deadlines, he does that fine himself. He needs a boss to deal with any administration or politics that come up so that he can keep working hard to meat the deadlines. Another worker with the same job will have different needs from the same boss. A good boss doesn't treat all of his employees the same. He gets to know them and their needs, and does his best to support and represent them the best that he can, within sanity.
Poloboy is offline  
Old 11-20-2003, 05:39 AM   #5 (permalink)
Location: VA
Learn how to conduct staff meetings that last 5 minutes and give an hour's worth of information, instead of meetings that last an hour and give only 5 minutes of information.

The latter drives me up the wall on a, ummm, weekly basis.
"In Iraq, no doubt about it, it's tough. It's hard work. It's incredibly hard. It's - and it's hard work. I understand how hard it is. I get the casualty reports every day. I see on the TV screens how hard it is. But it's necessary work. We're making progress. It is hard work."
Sparhawk is offline  
Old 11-20-2003, 05:53 AM   #6 (permalink)
Location: ÉIRE
The best bosses are the ones who started at the very bottom and worked their way up.
They are aware of all the shit that goes on and have a fair idea how to get around it.
My father always advised me that I should never ask someone to do something I am not prepared to do myself, and that is the most important part of being a good boss I think
its evolution baby
homerhop is offline  
Old 11-20-2003, 08:37 AM   #7 (permalink)
Tilted Cat Head
Cynthetiq's Avatar
Location: Manhattan, NY
great list red...
I don't care if you are black, white, purple, green, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, hippie, cop, bum, admin, user, English, Irish, French, Catholic, Protestant, Jewish, Buddhist, Muslim, indian, cowboy, tall, short, fat, skinny, emo, punk, mod, rocker, straight, gay, lesbian, jock, nerd, geek, Democrat, Republican, Libertarian, Independent, driver, pedestrian, or bicyclist, either you're an asshole or you're not.
Cynthetiq is offline  
Old 11-20-2003, 06:39 PM   #8 (permalink)
Location: The Kitchen
Originally posted by redravin40
I have worked for good bosses, mediocre bosses and terrible ones (I think there is a class in Chef school on how to be a complete asshole).
I've worked for more than a few lunatic chefs, and if there is a course, my last boss was the professor. I won't go into detail because if I start I'll rant for pages.

Basically he was the opposite of your list. He was a liar, a backstabber, an incompetent cook (homeless people turned down his cooking on a regular basis), and had severe anger issues.

What he was good at though was kissing ass. It was awe-inspiring and revolting to watch the way this guy had upper management wrapped around his finger. It took the three most senior employees (of a staff of 7)handing in written resignations on the same day to get management to finally get rid of him.
rockzilla is offline  
Old 11-20-2003, 06:51 PM   #9 (permalink)
I change
ARTelevision's Avatar
Location: USA
Thanks for the list, red.

To me a good boss does the same things everyone else does:
shows up, works all day, does a good job, shoots the breeze once in a while, pitches in with things like taking out the trash, making coffee, straightening up. The less difference between him or her and everyone else, the better.
create evolution
ARTelevision is offline  
Old 11-20-2003, 07:59 PM   #10 (permalink)
Location: South East US
I had a great boss.
He listened to his employees and helped to resolve problems. He also was good at providing a different perspective and encouraging us to seek different ways to get around or ignore problems. He ended up being one of my best friends I would still do anything for him. I failed to live up to his high expectations ( or more likely my own) and I felt so guilty I left the company. I still have a lot of regrets about it.
'Tis better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than open one's mouth and remove all doubt.
Samuel Johnson (1709 - 1784)
nirol is offline  
Old 11-20-2003, 09:46 PM   #11 (permalink)
Observant Ruminant
Location: Rich Wannabe Hippie Town
Although I am no pro-war kind of guy, the best bosses I had were retired military. Oh, they could be hard-assed -- I could tell you stories. But what they expected _from_ you, they gave _to_ you: support, loyalty, hard work, respect. I've had maybe one non-military boss who was as good.
Rodney is offline  
Old 11-21-2003, 05:36 AM   #12 (permalink)
Location: NJ
You've covered a lot of the bases already. A couple of primary things are missing though. You may do them already but don't have them listed.

Professional development (Both your own and your people's): Helping people to achieve what they want to achieve (if appropriate for them) or pointing them in the direction which you feel (or know) they will be most successful are big pluses for any boss. Communicating with employees and giving them an idea of the areas they need to work on in order to get to where they want is another trait that not only improves the odds for the employee but makes the company stronger as well.

By developing yourself professionally, being aware of the happenings around the company, and communicating them to your people, you increase the overall understanding of the company's direction and can position your people to have the best chances for new or soon to be opened roles & responsibilities.

Motivation. Motivating employees is another key area. Each person has different motives for being at work. Each also needs something different to be challenged and feel that they are contributing. By being aware of these facts and understanding the personalities and motivations of the people you supervisor, you automatically jump to among the best managers in the company/world.

I like that you make a point of backing your people. That is something that really pisses me off about some managers. I was recently stuck in the middle of a reorganization where I had little power in the situation. The Director of my previous department knew this was going to occur and did nothing to position her employees appropriately. Other directors positioned their people by getting them new titles, new responsibilities, and making connections for them with the new leadership. Mine did none of that. Her MO is always to sit back and protect her own position in the organization. She never comes down firmly on one side or another in any meeting until it's obvious which side will "win". She then makes her opinion known as being one in general agreement with the losing side but stands behind the winning side as being the "best" route. I'd have to put her in the "bad boss" category.

As far as best bosses, I've had a few. I've been fortunate to have worked directly for some incredible businessmen. One is an absolute genius when it comes to economics. I learned more from him than anyone else in the world. He is intellectually superior to probably 99.9% of people. But what sets him apart from the other .1% is his recognition of his superiority without any ego. e communicates so well, it's scary.
Strive to be more curious than ignorant.
onetime2 is offline  
Old 11-21-2003, 04:58 PM   #13 (permalink)
Slave of Fear
Here is my philosophy, If someone is doing a good job tell them so, preferably in front of other other people and then leave them alone. If they aren't doing a good job find out why not. Try to fix the problem that is causing them to do poor work. If you can't fix their problem, encourage them to go somewhere else and if they don't, get rid of them. Sounds simple but it amazing how few really good bosses there are.
Frowning Budah is offline  

boss, good, makes

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