What traits/qualities make someone a great boss?

Business owner explaining company to employees.

Explaining how your employees can best impact your business greatly empowers your employees.

What makes someone a great boss? What traits or qualities does someone have (or can someone cultivate) to be a great boss? And why does that even matter?

Recognizing potential and nurturing it

A great boss is someone who sees the potential in someone and nurtures that to help the employee become who he or she wants to be and to achieve what he or she wants to achieve. This requires a focus on company goals and an ability to translate those into specific goals for each direct report. It requires the ability to ask good questions and to listen. Many people hear, but few people actually listen to what another is saying.

Say "Great job!" to employees

Part of being a great boss is letting direct reports know that they are doing a great job.

Empathy and support

Being a good boss also requires empathy and the ability to be supportive. Not everyone wants to run an organization so you can’t groom everyone to do so. Some people want to leave at the end of the day and focus on family. By knowing what people want, you can help them do very well within their jobs and connect this to their personal goals.

Helping your employees feel valued

You must help your employees be good at their jobs or, if they aren’t, determine where there is a better fit in the organization for those individuals. Being supportive also means that you share credit and acknowledge your employees directly when they’re being helpful and doing a good job. We all want to feel valued and like we’re being heard. All these traits help you or your managers be a great boss. In doing that, you help your employees feel valued and heard.

Why this is important

So why is it important to help your employees feel valued? Beyond the obvious altruistic benefits, what does your business derive from this? When your employees feel like they matter and impact the business, you engender a strong sense of loyalty in them. Your employees are likely to stay for many years, and refer other employees to you as you grow. Your employees’ productivity increases and, with other creativity systems in place, your pace of innovation – both large and small – increases. All of this significantly, positively impacts your bottom line!