3 counterintuitive characteristics of good bosses
Monday, June 11, 2018
Bosses can be leaders, managers, supervisors, team leads or project heads. Yet, despite the different responsibilities and levels within which the title boss can fall, all good bosses share the same positive characteristics of being good listeners, knowing their strengths and efficiently managing time.
In addition to those well-understood traits, here are three counterintuitive characteristics of good bosses.
Give it up
Often when we get a little bit of power, our first instinct is to hold on to it — tightly.
Whether we have been waiting for it for a long time, have had the need to wield dictator-like authority in the past, or simply fear the boss that might take over if not us, it is easy to come up with rationalizations for trying to keep our power.
However, great bosses from the line to the C-suite understand that power is dynamic and the best way to hold on to it is to let go of it a little.
In other words, we cannot be afraid to give up the lead. Letting others taking a turn at the helm reinforces our position as a strong leader.
By encouraging others on the team to take the lead with our support, we can also get a great feel for the strengths of our team members, note early glimpses of future leaders and build trust.
Similarly, to push the development of teams further, good bosses can experiment by letting go of a project completely.
Giving the group the opportunity to feel out and work through their internal dynamics allows natural leaders to rise, experts to be recognized and can truly open up the lines of communication.
In both situations, bosses that give their teams more autonomy can reap the benefits of increased cohesion. On the flip side, allowing for different leaders and letting the team work things out together also affords us the opportunity to identify challenges like employee relations issues or workload disparities so we can address them early and more effectively.
In addition to rethinking the redistribution of authority, good bosses simply prioritize differently.
Getting the work done might be the most important thing for the team, but ensuring the team works together cohesively, in a timely fashion and has success meeting are the priorities of the boss.
In other words, the team needs to focus on what gets done and when; the boss needs to focus on how and why the work gets done. While good bosses do understand the job of each of their team members and may need to roll up their sleeves as well, their focus must shift from being an individual contributor to an expert facilitator.
For example, the team needs to master the use of their tools, follow processes and implement systems. The role of the boss, however, is to ensure the appropriate tools are available, processes are efficient, and systems support overall goals.
The bottom line is that being a good boss at any level is about support, facilitation and encouragement. It is not about showing off or wielding power.
Thus, while it may be counterintuitive, the best bosses let go of their desire to control and let their team members step up to the challenge.
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