What Makes a Great Boss?

happy boss with coffee

Some months ago, we wrote a post about avoiding a bad boss, titled The Five Employer Types You Should Avoid.

There are several horrible bosses and even shady ones. But what makes a great boss? Do you have or have had a great boss? Do you manage a team? What makes a great boss? Here’s what to do and what not to do!

1. You do not wish to build a cult of personality.

We live in a celebrity-obsessed culture. And nowadays, the term celebrity seems to have no meaning as everyone is able to attain their 15 minutes of fame. I guess Andy Warhol called it!*

You do not want to be that boss that fancies himself/herself to be a demi-god. You know the type: they want their employees to worship them and follow their lead. They have designed a cult of personality at the workplace and all junior-level employees have to worship them.

Be the kind of boss that is approachable. Do not be the boss who watches down from the ivory tower.

2. You are a respectful boss.

 There are many aspects to respecting your employees:

  • Respect their time
  • Speak to them with respect
  • Have respect for their race, gender, sexual orientation, cultural background etc.
  • Respect their intelligence

Those are just a few. Your employees should not have to be awake at the crack of dawn by you. They should not have to jump out of the shower or leave the dinner table to take your call. They have a life outside of the workplace.

Speak to them with respect: please and thank you are appreciated. Much better than do this and do that.

The third point should be obvious. No one wants a boss who makes derogatory comments about their employees — to their face or behind his or her back.

And of course, do not patronize them. You hired them for their skills — respect their skills. Respect their intelligence.

3. You know what you are talking about.

We’ve all had that boss who tells you how to do your job, though he/she hasn’t a clue about the job.

A good boss knows a bit about every department. The best restaurateur was once a busser. The Head of [insert department name] should have experience in the field. You should know how to do the job you are requesting of others.


*It’s likely that Andy Warhol never said this quote himself.

Raghav Suri