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Lead Your Team Managing

15 Signs You're a Great Boss

15 Signs You're a Great Boss
Credit: lculig/Shutterstock

Every boss has a different opinion of what makes a great leader, and it's often hard to see how your employees view you. So how can you tell if you're actually a good boss?

Business News Daily asked business owners and leadership experts what qualities make someone a good manager. From trust and respect to personality and leadership tactics, every little trait adds up to make a strong leader.

Not sure how you stack up? Here are 15 signs you're a great boss.

You possess a strong desire to see your employees develop and succeed.

"When we get a great employee, we want to keep them where they are because they are so productive, despite it likely not being in their best interest [over the] long term. Try to look at things from their perspective, and mold the position you have for them into something that they can continue to grow into. If they've stopped learning and developing, they won't stay with you for very long. Sometimes, you can support their growth within your company, and sometimes, the next logical step is for them to move on to another opportunity." – Evan Carmichael, founder, Evancarmichael.com

You have a sense of self-mastery.

"Self-mastery is about knowing who you are as a leader, what your personal vision is for yourself and your life, and what your own leadership style is. A good leader needs to understand his or her own performance dynamics before making demands on others. Mastering your own sense of self and knowing how you best use your own mental energy, as well as your own strengths and weaknesses, helps you be a more thoughtful and aware leader." – Jeri Denniston, certified strategic management professional, Haines Centre for Strategic Management

You are candid. 

"Great bosses give feedback — the good, the bad and the ugly. You know that spinach leaf that gets stuck in your teeth after lunch? Don't you want someone to tell you about it? Your direct reports want feedback, and it's crucial in making your team as productive as possible." – Brad Karsh, president, JB Training Solutions

You are relentless.

"Besides getting things done and meeting performance objectives, you must shepherd your people through every hard turn. Your principal rewards for success are keeping your job and receiving even more responsibilities and challenges. The best bosses keep chipping away at a huge pile of tasks — some interesting, others dull but necessary." – Maynard Brusman, consulting psychologist and executive coach, Working Resources

You are a transformational leader.

"[A good boss has] the ability to transform employees from self-centered performance to organizational goals. This is demonstrated [by] the boss's ability to know the employee; understand the employee’s needs, wants and motivators; and transform this into the attainment of organizational goals." – Robin James, co-coordinator, William Rainey Harper College Management Department [Are You a Good Boss or a Bad Boss? Here's How to Tell ]

You show compassion.

"A good boss must be able to step into their employees' shoes and see the world through their eyes. This is often one of the most challenging traits to acquire if you aren't naturally equipped with it. Think of it this way. We all have at least one thing in common: We've all been through the most difficult thing in our life. Our ability to step into someone else's shoes and relate to them does wonders for employees. They think, 'He/she sees it. [He/she] understands.'" – Josh Lucas, business development manager, Bartell & Bartell

You avoid extremes.

"Too many bosses approach their role from either overconfidence or insecurity — either believing that they can't show any vulnerability [or] their directions won't be respected, or being too deferential, worried that no one will follow their lead if they are too bossy. But the best bosses are aware of their own blind spots and challenge themselves to step out of their comfort zone in order to build trust and motivate others to follow their lead from their own willingness, not because they are the boss." – Nihar K. Chhaya, executive coach and principal, PartnerExec

You can ditch your ego.

"A good boss has to check their ego at the door and be able to hire and surround themselves with people that are more knowledgeable and more skilled than they are. I'm a firm believer in building teams of mini CEOs, empowering employees to make critical decisions and have the autonomy to do it all. Also, being able to give up control and let others run with ideas and programs is key to fostering this mini-CEO mentality." – Jessica Mah, CEO, inDinero.com

You are transparent.

"To be a good boss, you must be transparent. There's a correlation between worker happiness and workplace transparency. Leaders and managers who offer transparency will earn the respect and devotion of their team." – David Niu, CEO, TINYpulse

You are inspiring.

"What truly makes a boss isn't an ability to delegate nor an ability to manage tasks, employees, work remits or daily schedules. What makes a fantastic boss is the ability to inspire ... and it's a rarity. Inspiration — whether through action, speech or email — brings all of the above into focus and actionable. A boss that can seek to inspire a team — no matter what industry, sector or job focus — is one that will see results. It's easy to manage people, but to inspire takes some true skill and yet pays off in spades." – Zachary Weiner, CEO, Emerging Insider Communications

You praise your employees.

"A great boss promotes employees and their accomplishments without fear that their own value to the company will be diminished. They believe that when employees feel appreciated, they will work harder, smarter and with greater loyalty." – Roy Cohen, career counselor and executive coach

You give things structure.

"Try to create a clear structure for each employee. [Make] sure that they know what their job responsibility is, train them on it and keep them focused on the job at hand. In some places, when you are constantly giving them new tasks and changing their job responsibility, they get confused, and this is counterproductive." – Sean Hopwood, president, DayTranslations.com

You're a good communicator.

"Communication is a two-way street. Understand that it is up to you to communicate your expectations to your employees, as well as being receptive to the concerns of those under you. A good leader is an approachable one who shows genuine concern to the issues facing employees. I’d much rather have employees feel comfortable enough to knock on my door than watch them fail because of unclear directions." – Vick Vaishnavi, CEO, Yottaa

You have charisma.

"A good boss draws people out. Charisma is measured by your ability to release others into a more enjoyable state of communicating. A good boss does this by being curious, asking questions, listening and being positive. Researchers at MIT have found that upbeat people who are sincerely interested in what other people have to say have natural charisma, and they are successful in negotiations and presentations. A boss has a serious handicap in conversation if he/she is not curious about the other person." – Lou Solomon, founder and CEO, Interact

You value feedback.

"[A good boss] asks for feedback and suggestions, and then actually takes them! Too often, leaders simply pay lip service to asking for feedback but don't ever do anything about it. Great leaders show their associates that their opinions are valued, that they are respected and that they are being listened to. This helps associates realize they are making a difference, which is fast becoming more and more of a factor for higher engagement as more millennials join the workforce." – Sandy Geroux, motivational speaker and CEO, WOWplace International

Originally published on Aug. 27, 2011. Updated on May 26, 2015. Business News Daily senior writer Chad Brooks also contributed to this story. 

Brittney Helmrich
Brittney Helmrich

Brittney M. Helmrich graduated from Drew University in 2012 with a B.A. in History and Creative Writing. She joined the Business News Daily team in 2014 after working as the editor-in-chief of an online college life and advice publication for two years. Follow Brittney on Twitter at @brittneyplz, or contact her by email.