The 10 Best Boss Characteristics to Look for at Your Next Job
It's important to know what to look for in a boss. It will impact your job happiness.
We've discussed what employers look for from top employee prospects.
Now it's time to turn the tables.
Finding a great job is not only about what you can offer the employer.
The job market is thin on talent today and employers know it. They are looking for the best of the best in every industry and they're willing to do whatever they can to land top talent.
This means the power switches hands and moves in favor of the jobseeker.
As a jobseeker there are a few things you'll look for from a potential employer including:
Who your boss will be and how that person interacts with you and others is another major factor. We can include it as part of the culture of the company.
Often, the way the boss acts is reflective of the entire company culture – for better or worse.
Here are characteristics of the best bosses. Look for these when searching for your dream job.
We've been talking about consistency in the workforce for a while here at Design & Construct. We're not giving it lip service. We've found that people value consistency extremely high on the list of quality human characteristics.
You, as a jobseeker, should model yourself as someone that is consistent with your work.
And you should also seek a boss that is consistent as well.
But in what context is consistency an attractive quality in a boss?
First, an importance point to make is that we're not talking about a boss that treats every person on the team or in the office the same.
We're all individuals and we seek to be treated differently, but not too differently, than our peers.
Consistency on the job can be dangerous in one important way.
Let's say you join a new company. After a year you feel you've performed at the top of your team and deserve a raise appropriate to your contributions. Instead of getting more than those you outperformed you receive an increase consistent with everyone else on the team.
It's easy to understand how this can cause issue with workers.
The type of consistency you're looking for from your boss is finding a leader that is consistent in their quality of work. You want someone that is consistent with communication, messages, vision, etc.
This type of consistency gives employees a feeling of trust toward their boss and that sometimes is the most important element of a quality company culture.
Just touching off consistency is reliability.
Employees want to know they can trust the boss to be on time every day to work. Not only should the boss be at work, but also they should be counted on to come through when they have tasks due.
A good business runs by having people on the team that meet deadlines. This element of a company is often even more important than dramatic results.
Nearly every company we talk with would rather have reliability and consistency than someone on the team that pushes for dramatic results.
Businesses will take calculated risks, but they often look for leaders that are reliable in various aspects. Look for leaders and bosses that have a consistent record of reliability and it's a good sign that you'll have a good leader helping you succeed in your position.
This is not the kind of encouragement you get from your parents as a child, but it is important to have a boss that encourages you in your job.
Too many bosses believe that when an employee does their job they are simply doing their job. While that may be true on the surface it is still good for the boss to provide positive feedback from time to time.
In additional to encouragement in daily tasks it's also important for the boss to push employees along during frustrating times.
Ask your potential boss about struggles other employees have had and how they've pushed through to reach goals.
The answers you receive should give you a hint about how the boss encourages employees when the team is struggling to get something completed.
Bosses reach their position of leadership often because they are really good at their job. This is great and should be part of the equation for becoming a boss, but sometimes the boss will feel defensive when employees show more promise than the boss.
You always want a boss that trusts you and believes in you to do a good job.
Ask your potential boss how they let employees handle certain projects. Make sure the answer shows that the boss is involved, but only on a basic level. You want to see that the boss can trust employees to do a great job and maybe even to find new and better ways to achieve results.
While a good boss will provide positive feedback and encouragement they should also challenge you.
This is a hard thing for most employees to understand, but it can drive you to succeed.
You want a boss that will challenge you and push you to be the best you can be. It sounds cliché, but a boss that challenges everything you do will be someone that gets the best out of you. They don't want you to ever settle for just being good enough.
You've probably heard stories of how Apple CEO Steve Jobs pushed his employees to find new and better ways to get things accomplished.
There are stories of employees being pushed too far, but those that stuck with Jobs are now some of the most successful people in the technology industry.
Find a boss that will challenge you to keep improving. You will probably hate it at times, but always understand that they want the absolute best you can provide.
Some bosses will tell you how things should be done and this is fine on certain levels. But on other levels you want a boss that will work with you and that will accept your ideas for improvement.
We see this often in the design and construction industry. Employees work on projects and come up with new innovative ideas. The great bosses get excited about the innovations. They jump in and take part in the process.
The best bosses want to collaborate and provide their assistance so that you can take your ideas and projects to the best possible level of success.
Collaboration is great when the boss has time, but often the boss is extremely busy. It's the nature of the workforce today. People at all levels are doing more work to increase productivity.
But there is no reason your boss cannot be helpful. They are not just there to make sure you get your job done. Your boss should be someone that helps you complete your task and improve as a professional.
Being helpful includes providing constructive feedback, being available for consultative advice and direction as you work on projects and assignments.
Sometimes being helpful is simply being available to provide context to a question or direction for a project. It can take just a few minutes each week for the boss to provide help so the employee can be clear in what is expected.
Bosses that are available are becoming less common in the workforce today.
It's too bad because being available is one of the key elements of a great boss.
As you look for a new boss you want to see if there are regular times when you can meet with your boss just to catch up on progress. You want someone that is regularly available for quick meetings and check-ins so you can keep yourself on point when working.
If your boss has a schedule that is full throughout the day it likely won't be a good situation. You want someone that keeps time available for all employees.
Each employee needs direction even if they are self-motivated. Without direction the employee might stay busy, but there will be a level of doubt that they're doing the right work.
Having a boss that is curious about life and work is great for employees.
You don't want a boss that is crazy over new trends or anything like that. You're looking for someone that questions things and looks for new and unique ways to improve life and work.
A curious boss is usually more open to ideas you have about how things could be improved. It always feels good to know that your boss is interested in what you're doing.
If you're meeting a potential boss for the first time make note of how they ask questions. If they are genuinely curious about you and what you do then it's a good sign.
Being practical is a trait the best bosses and business leaders almost always have. They don't get excited when things go well or when things go bad.
Being practical about things allows the boss to provide clear direction to employees. It allows them to keep the emotions of the entire team in check no matter what is happening.
The employee has more control today over where they work. If you truly want to find your ideal job you'll have to be picky when it comes to the people you work with including your boss.
You probably already know what to look for in a good boss, but the items listed above should help you in your search for a new job.