Having a good boss makes a great difference in any work environment. But what traits make a highly effective boss who not only earns the respect of team members but also of peers and superiors? Experience being a given, here are 7 habits of effective bosses that not only earn them the respect but also enable them to handle any challenge that comes their way:
- They are decisive - Effective bosses are known to make decisions quickly and are slow to change those decisions. That's often seen as stubborn or even resistant to change but it boils down to this: A boss that changes his or her decisions frequently is seen as indecisive, confusing, and loses the respect as a team leader. Often those who change decisions often rely too heavily on impressing others with their title and position instead of understanding what's in front of them. Well informed quick decision making is a signature of highly effective bosses
- They make definite plans and know how to execute them - Leading by guesswork without definite plans can be seen as disorganized. For the most part, effective bosses take the time to think things through, weigh all options and come up with viable ways to address positive and negative risks that may arise. Essentially, they plan their work and work their plan.
- They have good personalities - I remember during the first week of my new job, I was told how tough and mean my boss was. With that in mind, no one was more surprised than I when he invited me to a party at his house during the first week of my new job. I went and it was the best party I ever went to. He saw me, made time to ask me how I was doing. The following week at work, it was business as usual but that party was a topic of discussion. He was still one of my toughest bosses that pushed to be a better analyst but he knew how to laugh and have a good time with everyone.
- They sympathize with others - It's easy for some bosses to dismiss the personal issues of team members citing that if it's not work related then it's not that important. That was the party line for many years but effective bosses realize that paying attention to team members as well as their work is essential to having a productive team. Not only does it make the employee feel like they matter, it is also good business. A boss that sympathizes and provides resources to his/her team is a part of the holistic business approach that is good for team morale as well as business at large.
- They are masters of details - A former boss of mine looked at one of my data sheets and told me what happened during the fourth week in January 1996 and why the strategy we were using in February 2007 needed to align with that. It was both scary and amazing. His in-depth knowledge of such details not only showed me that he respected the seriousness of his position but it also inspired me respect my position that much more.
- They take full responsibility for themselves and their team - When a mistake is made, it is easy for a boss to (subtly or overtly) point the finger. But the best bosses I've seen have embodied the motto The buck stops here. For any and all errors, they take responsibility and choose not to blame anyone else for their mistakes. That habit earns the respect of not only their team but also of their superiors.
- They know how to enlist the cooperation of others - For any project to work, there needs to be 'buy-in' from all parties. There are many ways to enlist cooperation but an effective boss knows that one of the best ways is to use referential authority to induce team members' and project sponsor cooperation.