Great Boss Test

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15 Attributes of Great Boss

What would organizations look like if every manager started their day asking themselves “what can I do to set up my employees for success?” and gave serious attention to developing their employees? Or federal governments if each public servant started their day asking “what can I do today to help my country?” and focused their energy on doing what was genuinely best for the country? Or if parents asked “what can I do set up my family for long-term success?” and did what was best for their family? Perhaps employees would be more engaged, politicians would spend less time demeaning each other, and children would be better equipped for adulthood.

Of course, many parents make their family their top priority, some managers do help their employees be the best they can be, and some public servants do place the good of their country first. But for some, focusing on the good of others would require a big shift. Even though they might have the intent, their action is missing. The goals and objectives might be there, but the calendar, money, and energy aren’t. This lack of doing what’s best for others is perhaps most noticeable in the workplace and government, but even parents, as many teachers will attest, don’t do what’s truly best for their kids. 

In regard to the workplace, many bosses don’t realize how much more successful they and their organizations would be if they gave more energy to making their employees successful. If they gave their employees the attention, resources, assistance, and advocacy they needed to become high performers, many of the problems managers spend so much time on would go away. Much of the wasted expense, rework, conflict, and unproductive activity would disappear. As most managers know, but struggle to make happen, organizations with highly-developed, collaborative, and fully-engaged employees produce the best results.  

Do you have a boss who is your advocate and whose goal it is to help you develop and be successful? Or if you are a boss, is your top priority to develop your people and set them up for success?

Assess yourself, or your boss, against this list of attributes of great bosses who set up their employees for success and develop a team of top-performers. By the way, these are also the attributes that keep top-performers engaged and motivated:

  1. As a boss, your to-do list is primarily comprised of people’s names and their activities rather than a list of tasks or projects on which you are working.
  2. You think about the problems your employees face more than the problems you face.
  3. You ensure your employees are in roles in which they are best suited and aspire to be top performers.
  4. You ensure the organization is executing an effective strategy.
  5. You seek your employee’s opinions and involve them in decisions that affect them.
  6. You set goals that are good for the organization as well as good for the employees.
  7. You set clear expectations of performance and empower your employees to perform their responsibilities, but stay informed and track their progress.
  8. You meet regularly with your employees and discuss their work in sufficient detail that you jointly brainstorm approaches that help overcome their obstacles.
  9. You monitor your employee’s workload and stress to ensure they aren’t burning out.
  10. You provide the information, methods, systems, tools, and facilities employees need to be productive, safe, and excellent.
  11. You provide the coaching, training, and educational resources employees need to continually increase their skills and knowledge.
  12. You provide regular positive reinforcement, encouragement, exhortation, and praise related to your employee’s efforts, not just their results.
  13. You give employees exposure and opportunities to develop relationships across the organization. 
  14. You provide compensation, rewards, perks, and benefits commensurate with the effort and value your employees contribute.  
  15. You take action on underperformers, but only after agreeing on clear expectations of performance and giving them sufficient coaching, training, and resources.

Article by Mike Hawkins, award-winning author of Activating Your Ambition: A Guide to Coaching the Best Out of Yourself and Others (, author of the SCOPE of Leadership six-book series on coaching leaders to lead as coaches (, and president of Alpine Link Corp (, a boutique consulting firm specializing in leadership development and sales performance improvement. For other articles on reaching your peak potential, visit:

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