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    Do you have a great boss? Not quite sure? Here are some of the traits and characteristics you should be looking for in your present (and future) bosses.

    1. They are experienced. A good boss has the experience and knowledge to lead and cultivate a successful team. He or she has a strong working knowledge of the pertinent business processes and shares that knowledge and experience with you.
    2. They create a positive and productive work environment. Good working conditions are critical. Providing an upbeat atmosphere that encourages camaraderie, competition, and collaboration between teammates is a hallmark of a successful boss.
    3. They make their expectations clear. An experienced boss makes their expectations known on day one. They are clear and direct but open to questions and comments.
    4. They recognize potential. A good boss takes an active interest in helping you achieve your goals and is generous with their time. They give positive instruction and are generally good teachers. A good leader encourages your professional growth – even if it means you might eventually leave the team.
    5. They communicate effectively (and that includes listening). A good boss maintains an open-door policy and makes themselves available to you and other members of the team. They provide clear direction, set reasonable and attainable goals, and encourage open meaningful dialogue. A good boss also knows they don’t have all the answers and they openly seek-out your opinion. They value your contributions and those of others on the team.
    6. They accept responsibility. When things go wrong, a good leader steps up. They recognize when they or the team fail to achieve their goals and don’t blame others. A good boss is open, honest, fair and willing to admit if they were wrong.
    7. They provide regular reviews and constructive feedback. A good boss knows that meaningful feedback delivered on a regular basis keeps employees up-to-speed on their strengths and weakness and assists them in refining and improving their work. They offer constructive criticism and meaningful direction that helps you grow and succeed.
    8. They empower you. A good boss allows a certain amount of autonomy and doesn’t micromanage. They value your opinion and expertise and are willing to be persuaded. A strong leader supports their team by backing them up and being part of a united front.
    9. They’re hands-on. While a good boss doesn’t micromanage, they are willing to jump in to do the work necessary to help the team meet its goals.
    10. They don’t play favorites. A good leader appreciates the uniqueness of all individuals on the team.
    11. They reward a job well done. A good boss gives credit where credit is due — often and consistently.
    12. They’re flexible. An experienced boss knows how to stay calm and roll with the punches. They work with you and the team to reprioritize as necessary. They take the time needed to understand any personal or professional issues that may impact your work and accommodate and resolve any unusual issues that may arise.
    13. They laugh a lot. A good leader has a great sense of humor. They appreciate the healing power of a good laugh in times of high-stress and are able to laugh at themselves.

    What about a bad boss, though? Here are some red flags you should be looking for…

    A not-so-great boss:

    1. Creates a negative work environment. A bad boss pits employees against one another and has favorites who enjoy greater access and special treatment. They fail to empower and to recognize and reward good work.
    2. Is self-serving. A bad boss “knows it all,” takes credit for other’s work, and tends to micromanage. When something goes wrong, instead of taking responsibility they blame others.
    3. Fails to see your potential. A bad boss is more interested in what you get done for them than where you’re going professionally.
    4. Communicates poorly. A bad boss fails to make their expectations clear and doesn’t provide regular reviews or meaningful feedback.
    5. Likes lots of meetings. A bad leader enjoys hearing their own voice and focuses on their own abilities as opposed to the strengths of those on the team. They are unprepared and close meetings without clear assignments and due dates.

    A good boss inspires. A bad boss discourages. A good boss is confident but shows humility. A bad boss is insecure and boastful. A good boss cultivates and rewards talent. A bad boss takes advantage and takes credit. If your current boss is the former, chances are you’re doing well. But, if yours is the latter, it might be time to move on.

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