17 Signs You Have a Great Boss
Surprise: It’s not necessarily the ones who bring in doughnuts and give you compliments.
She gives you a challenging project
One of the primary jobs of a boss is to help develop and improve her employees, and a great boss knows just how hard to push you and what assignments will help cultivate your talents, says Lynda Spiegel, a human resources professional and founder of Rising Star Resumes. The new assignment should feel difficult but not completely out of reach, and your boss should be available to give you ongoing guidance and feedback throughout, she adds.
She takes sick days
Managers can sometimes inadvertently discourage employees from taking needed sick days, says Alison Green, of the blog Ask A Manager and author of How To Get a Job: Secrets of a Hiring Manager. “If you have a manager who herself never stays home, and people see her powering through it when she’s sick, that usually makes people feel they’re expected to do the same—even if the manager doesn’t actually feel that way,” she says. Instead, a great boss will stay home and rest when she’s sick and encourage you to do the same.
He includes you on all relevant emails
Being cc’d on every email can feel like a pain, but a boss that makes sure you’re copied on every email that relates to your job is a good one, says Alexander Lowry, MBA, HR expert and director of Gordon College’s master of science in financial analysis. This shows he is keeping you in the loop so you have all the information you need, plus it lets everyone else on the email thread know that you’re the one they should talk to. Of course, a great boss will only copy you on emails that involve you and your projects, saving you from unnecessary inbox clutter. Check out the 10 subtle things that will get you noticed at work.
He speaks calmly, even when others are yelling
In an ideal world, everyone would be perfectly civil at all times, but anyone who’s ever worked under a tight deadline or in a challenging office knows that tempers can flare hot and fast. A great boss won’t get sucked into the drama and will be able to speak forcefully without yelling while helping to calm the situation down, says Peter Holmes, an employment law consultant and HR advisor.
She has an open door communication policy
When challenged, some bosses retreat into their office, perhaps even giving employees the silent treatment, Holmes says. But a good boss will prioritize keeping the lines of communication open, even if she doesn’t particularly like what you have to say. Whether it’s through email, text, chat, or in-person, great bosses make themselves available for regular and timely communication.
He gives you the credit you deserve
Is there anything worse than busting your butt on a project only to see your boss take all the credit for your hard work in the end? If your boss regularly assigns you “prestigious” work and makes sure you are getting the recognition for it, that’s the sign of a great boss, Holmes says.
She has a great sense of humor
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Laughter is not only the best medicine; it’s also good for business, says Steve Pritchard, human resources manager at Cuuver. A great boss knows how to laugh and share a joke without crossing moral or ethical lines or making anyone uncomfortable, he says.
She asks about your weekend
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Many people dread making office small talk—and with good reason. No one wants a boss who asks prying personal questions. However, a great boss knows how important it is to treat people like, well, people. One way a good boss can demonstrate her care and concern is to ask polite-but-not-overly-personal questions and then really listen to your answers, says Gina Folk, author of 30 Strategies to Ensure Your Team’s Success and creator of the Mentor Up Method. Does she need to know about your weekend diarrhea? No. But she should know and respect that you have a life outside of the office. Make sure you’re avoiding these 15 things your boss wants you to stop saying.
He seeks out your opinion
Who knows your job better than you do? No one (hopefully!). So when it comes time to assign projects, make decisions, or change direction, a great boss will ask for your input and feedback about how your work is going, Folk says. Great bosses know how to ask the right questions to solicit quality feedback and then integrate all of those opinions into an effective course of action.
She makes you fix your own mistakes
Having someone else point out your mistakes isn’t exactly the most fun activity, but in a work environment, it’s crucial to improving your skills and getting promoted. Everyone makes mistakes, and a great boss will help you identify yours in a kind way while making suggestions to help you fix them, says Nate Masterson, human resources manager for Maple Holistics. Look out for these 16 signs your boss actually hates you.