Qualities of Leadership Series #6: The Best Boss Ever

What makes a person a good boss or leader?

It’s been a while since I wrote a post for my Leadership Series.  Traits of a good boss seem like a good piece to share.  And, for some reason this morning, I started pondering this question. I know my answer. What are yours?  In my opinion, the following qualities make a person a good “boss.”


This is extremely important in a leader. If one feels they cannot approach their boss with ideas or concerns, there are problems of all sorts, but mostly in communication.

Attentiveness (Being a good listener)

A boss needs to be a good listener. This means giving full attention to you during a conversation. It also means that in meetings, everyone is allowed to speak without being interrupted or hijacked. The boss sets the tone for this. So, being a good listener also means not serving up platitudes, dismissive comments or being condescending. It is extremely hard to be a good listener but with work, I think everyone can have this trait.

Action Oriented

After the listening is done, whether it is in conversation or a meeting, a good boss must take action. Yes, some of these actions will be deligated. But, I truly feel that employees must see their boss “doing” some of the work at hand. This means that if the organization is short-staffed, the boss takes up the slack and actually does the work that needs to be done. It doesn’t mean it is just pushed off on other employees. This leads to another quality of good bosses.


An effective boss is engaged in the day to day operations of the organization without being a micro-manager. This means that they know exactly what each employee is doing and how the job gets done. Sometimes, cross-training is the most effective way to understand the role of everyone in an organization.  I believe the best way to understand what you are expecting of your employees is to have experienced their role. For example, when I hear of someone wanting to go into nursing, I advise that they work as a Nurse’s Aide before being an RN or work as an RN before working as an NP. This way you are knowledgable about what you are asking your staff (once you are put in charge) to do. It creates a team mentality. So, when that employee asks for help, you are less likely to dismiss them because you have an idea of what they need help for and why they need it.


I’m always in favor of setting the bar high. If high expectations are communicated, then the whole organization benefits.  If expectations are not being met, the employees need to be told in a timely fashion.

Dealing with Change

Change is hard. For all of us. But when change happens in an organization it can lead to growth and success or have an exactly opposite effect. Change needs to be clearly communicated and supported. The boss also needs to minimize the amount of change occurring at one time. If the impetus for change is desired by the boss and organization, those trying to effect the change must be visibly supported.

Lack of Favoritism

Favoritism is a sure-fire way to make your employees unhappy.  It kills the motivation of those less favored. (Yes, most employees can see this). Favoritism is also detrimental to a TEAM approach. Yes, it is human nature to like some people more than others, but if you are a good boss, you won’t let your bias show. Yeah, and it does include whose jokes you laugh at and whose you don’t.

Expression of Value

All humans need to feel valued. Not feeling valued or appreciated is extremely detrimental to employees. A boss’s job is to make everyone feel valued.  There are a multitude of ways to do this but if the attributes listed above are possessed by bosses, there is already some value placed on employees.

So, my best boss ever? It was my head nurse in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at the University of Rochester’s Strong Memorial Hospital! Wendy was amazing! Daily, she was in the trenches with us working in the unit! She came in early and was at her desk by 5 a.m. – only after checking with the charge nurse to see how things were going in our 45 bed, Level III, regional intensive care unit. If we were short-staffed or there were a lot of high-risk deliveries to attend, or there was a code, she was there to help – in whatever way possible. She never stepped in and took over. She stepped into whatever role was needed at the time. I saw her place phone calls to staff, go to the delivery room, help in a code, and even move incubators and bassinets around prior to the start of a new shift. She never left until 5 pm or later.  In the nursing world, this meant that she was there for all three of her staff’s shifts – night, day, and evening.  Her door was always open! I’ve always been amazed by Wendy’s work ethic and ability to lead by example.  She was the best boss I’ve ever know.  Be like Wendy; Be a great boss!

My other Leadership Series posts can be found:

Qualities of Leadership Series: Being Inspirational

Qualities of Leadership Series #2: Resilience

Qualities of Leadership Series #3: Integrity

Qualities of Leadership Series #4: Transparency

Qualities of Leadership Series #5: Communication

There are three more posts, other than today’s, that I am working on for this series! What will they be? Stop back to see!  Thanks for stopping by today! leadership-3331244_1920

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