7 qualities that make great bosses unforgettable

There are a variety of different bosses that many of us have encountered during our careers … bad ones, okay ones, good ones and even great ones … but it is not often we experience an unforgettable boss.

Unforgettable bosses capture the hearts and minds of their employees and have qualities that are remembered by everyone they meet. The significant performance improvements and results they achieve leave a lasting, positive effect on the business and on the employees themselves.

Here are the 7 qualities that make great bosses unforgettable …

  1. They get people to believe in the unbelievable
    Most people achieve that which they believe is achievable; that’s why most goals and targets are incremental rather than inconceivable. Top bosses get people to believe in the unbelievable. They show them how to get there.
  2. They’re not afraid to show their emotions to the team … in a controlled and professional way
    Good bosses are professional … top bosses are highly professional and yet also openly human. They show sincere excitement when things go well. They show sincere appreciation for hard work and extra effort. They also show sincere disappointment – not in others, but in themselves, when things don’t go according to plan. They celebrate, they empathise, they worry and sometimes they even get frustrated, or angry. In short, they’re human. Professionalism is admirable. Professionalism – with a healthy blend of humanity – is inspiring.
  3. They protect others
    Terrible bosses throw their employees under the bus all the time. Good bosses never throw their employees under the bus.
    Top bosses see the bus coming and pull their employees out of the way often without the employee knowing one was coming until much, much later. And if they can’t, they take the hit (and later speak privately to the employee in question)
  4. They explain how they see opportunity in instability and uncertainty, in a way everyone can see it too
    Unexpected problems, unforeseen barriers, major crises … most bosses take it out on their people … then take down the sails, batten down the hatches, and wait for it all to pass. Few bosses see such events as opportunities.
    They know it’s extremely difficult to make major changes, even necessary ones, when things are going relatively smoothly. They also know motivating an entire sales team to deliver more is accepted relatively easily when a major competitor enters the market.
    They know re-organising manufacturing operations is a lot simpler when the flow of supplies and components gets disrupted.
    Memorable bosses see instability and uncertainty not as a barrier, but as an enabler. They re-organise, re-shape, and re-engineer to reassure, motivate, and inspire – and, in the process, make the organisation much stronger.
  5. They’ve been there, done that … and are still doing it
    No matter what they might have accomplished in the past, top bosses are never too good to roll up their sleeves, get dirty, and do the “grundgework”. No job is ever too menial, no task ever too unskilled or boring.
    Top bosses never feel entitled, which gives a strong message to others, which means no-one feels entitled to anything but the fruits of their labour.
  6. They lead by permission, not authority
    Every boss has a position of authority. This position gives them the right to direct others, make decisions, to organise and instruct and to discipline.
    Top bosses lead because their employees want them to lead. Their employees are motivated and inspired by the person, not the position of authority.
    Through their words and actions they cause employees to feel like they work with a boss, not for a boss. Many bosses don’t even recognise there’s a difference … but top bosses do.
  7. They embrace a larger purpose
    A good boss works to achieve company goals.
    A top boss also works to achieve company goals – and achieves more than other bosses – but also works to serve a larger purpose: to advance the careers of employees, to rescue struggling employees, to install a sense of pride and passion to “the cause”, or company vision.

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