9 characteristic personality traits of great bosses


What makes a great boss, is something that is asked at almost all team-building workshops. Great bosses have brilliant leadership skills, but, that alone does not make everyone like them. The best bosses have some exceptional characteristics that make them well-liked. Here is what makes people great leaders at the workplace.

As I walked past a well-known Gift Store, in a shopping mall, my eyes caught a coffee mug, on the display window. The mug had the words 'Best Boss Ever' etched in big bold letters. I joked about it, to my husband, saying who would buy that mug, to gift to a boss. But, that was beside the point. My real argument was that there aren't that many bosses that could be termed as 'great' or 'best' or whatever…not many would qualify.

Let's be honest, most bosses are shrewd, insensitive taskmasters. I don't say that's totally wrong; they have their jobs to keep. In fact, such behaviour, in the workplace, is expected and is accepted as a norm.



But, then you also have bosses, who while being great at their job, are also liked by their subordinates. So, who are these people and what are the special qualities they possess.

While anyone can be a boss, it takes special characteristics to make a great boss. A boss is in charge and ensures that jobs are done on time, but a great boss does more than that. Let me walk you through some special characteristics of people who make great bosses. They demonstrate easy habits that are effective and ensure all round growth. What's more is that their habits are easy to emulate as well. If you want to become a great boss or a successful team leader then you can do what some great bosses do.

They are positive


One of the strong points of great bosses is that they recognize the strength of positive psychology and practice it unabashedly. They –

  • Encourage
  • Respect
  • Support
  • Lead
  • Guide
  • Appreciate

These traits empower them because they help create healthy relationships with those that they work. They make the others feel good about themselves and in turn earn respect and cooperation, leading to a smooth working environment. This cuts down interruptions which could otherwise hinder work progress.

Think about it, who wouldn't want to be appreciated and respected. People who willingly guides others, go on to be liked by others. And while it's easy to follow someone who leads, there is also a good chance of liking the leader.

Honesty is their forte


Great bosses are honest people and demonstrate great integrity. They do not cheat the system nor do they take advantage of their position. An honest boss passes the same sense of integrity down the line. So, everyone is sincere and honest as far as work is concerned.

Their ethics and principles extend to every facet of their personality. They are honest about their mistakes. They are honest about owning up that they lack the requisite knowledge. They are honest about learning new things. This attribute shows them as being normal and it helps them connect better with the others in their team.

They delegate responsibilities


By delegating responsibilities they build trust. They show faith in their team and in the team members abilities. They allow the people to work on their own and fend-off the temptation to interfere and to control. They are not into micromanaging, breathing down people's neck, asking for constant updates nor do they insist that the job is done their way. This avoids discord and discomfort among the team members and they are not perpetually conscious of being watched.

When people are given responsibilities, they end up working conscientiously treating the job as a challenge. They revel in the 'feel good' emotion that the boss's trust in their ability creates in them. Such bosses build an exceptional team – one that is raging to go.

They have excellent communication skills


Most problems arise due to the lack of communication. Similarly, many problems in an organisation are a result of the lack of communication. Communication is not about sending out memos on the how to, the what to and the when to. Communication at the workplace takes on a broader meaning.

Recommended reading : Good communication skills

A great boss understands that communication involves listening as well. Communication should not be limited to orders and expectations. Another factor that makes for good communication is the ability to extend it beyond verbal and written announcements. Good communication skills include positive body language. An optimistic body language is encouraging; it spreads positive vibes to the others as well. It gets passed around, without effort.

Recommended reading : The best communications tips every manager should learn

Good bosses also learn to read body language. They can distinguish between enthusiastic and unresponsive members in the group, by observing their body language. It is a skill that must be mastered. This skill helps to handle the workforce better. The boss knows which employees need constant encouragement and talking to.

Recommended reading : The art of non-verbal communication

Aligned with the others


A boss at the helm of affairs ensures that all the members in his team remain focused and work towards the end result, whatever that might be.

This is not easily done especially when there are many people working on a project. There are different temperaments, working style etc., to consider. So, a good boss works at forming a good working environment, through social get-togethers where people get to know each other better.

While this works most of the time, there can be situations when a little tact is required to handle the staff, with egos.

Recommended reading : Characteristics of a successful manager

They stimulate and motivate


Good bosses fire passion, in the people who work with them. They have a knack of getting people to admire their style of working. It is not something that they consciously do, but their working methods, the way they handle situations, conduct meetings and give pep talks, goes on to encourage others. Their general demeanour is a source of inspiration to others. They inspire people to replicate them.

They set high standards and when enthused employees aim to reach those levels of perfection, they bring in excellence.

They acknowledge everyone's efforts


A good boss gives credit where and when it is due. They do not shy away from saying 'well done'. They acknowledge and appreciate the effort put in. They do not walk away with the laurels, nor do they take credit for a job someone else did.

Feeling appreciated is always a nice feeling. It goes on to act as a great morale booster. The effects, of course, go beyond that. Employees want to prove themselves and put in extra effort to live up to the name that they have etched for themselves. It is a great way to get the best out of the employees while remaining their all time favourite boss.

They're great mentors


Great bosses are great at mentoring. They take people under their wings, guide and lead them. They show people how things are done, rather than telling them what to do. They are great at advising and offer absolute support.

They encourage personal growth


Last but not the least they buoy up spirits, encouraging people to grow. They encourage skill development and training programmes within the organisation. They encourage their underlings to grow, so they can enhance their talent and be more productive.

Closing tip


Great bosses practice all these 'good' habits at the workplace, leading to a better and productive work environment.



Remember, those who work under you might think of you as a good boss because you are too soft. But, that does not count. You might be instrumental in helping the organisation make good profits, because of the quick turnaround or high sales that you deliver. But, that doesn't count either, not if you're achieving your goals at the cost of a healthy work ethos and/or a happy team.

The 9 potent and practical characteristics of great bosses can make you the most admired person in your organisation. Check them out, check them off and (if need be) change your approach.


Article by Juana
Juana is a freelance writer, with years of experience, creating content for varied online portals. She holds a degree in English Literature and has worked as a teacher and as a soft skill trainer. An avid reader, she writes on a variety of topics ranging from health, travel, education and personality development.

Follow Juana or read 458 articles authored by Juana

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