It’s true, if it wasn’t for Facebook or Hallmark (or my colleague who asked me if I was doing anything special for my manager) I would not have known that October 16, 2014 is National Boss’s Day in the United States. It looks like this holiday wasn’t on my radar. That being said, I am sure many of us out there are left scratching our heads thinking, “What?! Does my boss really need a day?”
Exceptional managers and truly great leaders share many common similarities. As Ronald Reagan once said, “The greatest leader is not necessarily the one who does the greatest things. He is the one that gets the people to do the greatest things.”
In celebration of National Boss’ Day, here are 6 traits of exceptional managers:
- Motivators: “Leaders must be close enough to relate to others, but far enough ahead to motivate them.” – John C. Maxwell
Great leaders don’t suck the energy away from others. They put people first and find new and interesting ways to energize and motivate their team. They are relatable. They are passionate. They know that acknowledgement for a job well done is more than just a pat on the back.
- Mentors: “A leader takes people where they want to go. A great leader takes people where they don’t necessarily want to go, but ought to be.” – Rosalynn Carter
Great leaders are mentors who are not afraid to push people outside their comfort zone. They are open, honest and invested in your potential and future. Having a manger that doubles as a mentor will boost your confidence and help shape your professional (and maybe even personal) development. If you don’t have a good mentor, I urge you to go out and look for one. My colleague, Jody, has some good advice on mentors in this blog post.
- Assertive: “The art of leadership is saying no, not yes. It is very easy to say yes.” – Tony Blair
Often it is difficult to say no. It’s even more difficult to be assertive without being aggressive. Great leaders understand the difference between the two. They are able to overcome adversary and resistance without ruffling too many feathers.
- Trustworthy: “There is a difference between being a leader and being a boss. Both are based on authority. A boss demands blind obedience; a leader earns his authority through understanding and trust.” – Klaus Balkenhol
When I imagine a boss, I think of Gary Cole’s character, Bill Lumbergh, from Office Space. The term “boss” gets a bad rap. Probably because it’s associated with distrust, micromanagement and bad communication. It’s easier to trust an exceptional leader because they are transparent and they care. They hold themselves accountable to the same standards and expectations they set for their employees.
- Passionate: “You have to be burning with an idea, or a problem, or a wrong that you want to right. If you’re not passionate enough from the start, you’ll never stick it out.” – Steve Jobs
Passion is contagious, disinterest is destructive. It is painfully obvious when leaders do not stand behind their organization or its goals. Great leaders have a desire to continuously cultivate creativity, change, innovation and collaboration across their teams and organization.
- Not Sociopaths: “The internal management application of this is that it’s always a bad idea to set one’s employees too much against one another. You want to find ways to differentiate people’s roles. Frame it this way: If you were a sociopathic boss who wanted to create trouble for your employees, the formula you would follow would be to tell two people to do the exact same thing. That’s a guaranteed formula for creating conflict. If you’re not a sociopath, you want to be very careful to avoid this.” – Peter Thiel
Peter’s quote from a recent WSJ article pretty much speaks for itself. Creating conflict in the workplace isn’t going to get you anywhere in life. Great managers know how to avoid and resolve frustration. Conflict resolution is a simple concept that sadly enough, is not at the forefront of every ordinary manager’s mind.
What do you think? Do you have any to add? Leave a comment below!