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Are You or Do You Work for a Great Boss?

During my career I have reported to almost 15 different people. Some of my bosses have been fantastic while others fell short on what I needed at that time.

As a boss I try to be three things at all times:

  1. Fair
  2. Firm
  3. Consistent

Do I achieve those goals all the time? I would love to say emphatically yes, but in reality—probably not. I will let you in on a little secret: being a boss is very, very hard! Making critical business decisions that impact the lives of many people is challenging to say the least.

Everyone has different needs and expectations of their boss. For me, I believe that a good boss:

  1. Shows appreciation of subordinates’ efforts. Appreciation should be shown verbally, in writing, and monetarily.
  2. Is willing to listen to subordinates’ ideas and new ways to do things.
  3. Has realistic expectations that are clearly expressed.
  4. Shares credit for a job well done, but also accepts blame when appropriate.
  5. Is good at setting priorities and sticking to them.
  6. Has a good sense of humor. Doesn’t mind occasional joking around in the office and isn’t too serious about everything.

As I was thinking about writing this blog, I thought it would be cool to see what others thought. So here are a few comments from people in the research community regarding what they look for in a boss:

  • Open to discussion, disagreement and respect for your experience and opinions (even if they did not always agree),” Betty Champion GFK.
  • I look for someone who empowers me and my team to be successful…someone who can inspire us to action, who listens well, welcomes me in as a partner in crafting our strategic vision and recognizes and acknowledges our contributions to the enterprise. Most importantly, I look for someone who gives us the autonomy and resources to reach our potential and exceed clearly articulated, reasonable and well thought out expectations and goals. I look for a straight shooter who is apolitical, candid and frank, and aligned with my objectives.” Jon Last Golf Digest
  • Someone who is rational, can show up in the big meeting, can provide wisdom, has a plan that I can buy into, is considered important in the company for the right reasons, works as hard as me, but can also understand family,” Adam Weinstein Authentic Response.
  • Someone who is willing to work with you as a partner – good communication skills, attentive, a sense of humor and someone who has a family (so they are not a workaholic.) Must be intelligent and knowledgeable about the business – know the external market – who is a threat, who is an ally, etc.,” Sharon Gautschy American Association for the Surgery of Trauma (AAST).
  • Someone who is honest, fair and has the ability to listen. Someone who has a good business mind, can look at the big picture. Someone who doesn’t “ride the fence” and willing to look at all angles before a decision is made/implemented,” Lucy Haydu MRA.
  • Honesty, fairness, and commitment to the growth of the company and its employees, not self,” John Heakin North American Insights.
  • I look for my boss to be engaged in the business, to be passionate about being successful, understanding what it truly takes for the research team to be successful. I want someone to have some personal involvement, understanding and commitment.” Pam Galley Sabre.
  • Patience and tolerance is also nice, but really isn’t as important as someone who gives you the tools you need not only to succeed, but to surpass expectations. They must be available – very important. You cannot tap a resource that isn’t accessible,” Lance Hoffman Opinion Access Corporation.

Thanks to everyone who participated. I look forward to hearing other thoughts and comments

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