The Boss Show

Workplace wisdom with heart and humor

February 9, 2011

A Great Boss is a Paradox

By adminwpa

Bosses set the conditions for everyone else’s success…or failure. And even more critical than that, they create the conditions under which everyone has to live, 8 or more hours a day. It’s an enormous responsibility.

But after recognizing the enormity of the responsibility, what’s next? Well, I’d suggest concocting a vision of what a superior boss looks like. A vision—so you have something to move toward. I mean, if you don’t know where you’re going, then I guess just about any road will get you there. What’s sad is that a lot of leaders don’t see the plain truth of that. A lot of companies don’t either, as we talk about in the first chapter of our book, but I digress.

So. Let me offer, for your review and comment, as clear a picture as I can conjure of a great boss.

  • A great boss has a long-term, sky-high vision—and, grounding herself firmly, takes one step at a time.
  • A great boss is organized, verging on anal. A great boss is flexible, verging on double-jointed.
  • A great boss is self-reliant and decisive—and a team-player, open to changing her mind.
  • A great boss thinks in straight lines—logically, analytically, deductively. A great boss thinks out of the box.
  • A great boss cares deeply about his team—and is not always their chum.
  • A great boss supports you, with an arm around your shoulder. A great boss challenges you, with your potential in your face.
  • A great boss trusts; a great boss verifies.
  • A great boss has a strong work ethic—a role model for her team. A great boss is work-life balanced—a role model for her team.
  • A great boss sets clear expectations—and leaves room for creativity and flexibility.
  • A great boss sets high expectations. And helps the team move forward anyway when they’re not met…
    So a great boss does failure with grace. But a great boss most often succeeds.
  • A great boss is grounded in his own perspective. A great boss opens to the perspectives of others. A great boss embraces the largest possible perspective—always.

No one style of leading defines a great boss. And a great boss respects all work styles, knowing how best to employ them.

And so a great boss is a constant paradox…and is constantly consistent. In these ways, the great boss leads organizations to greatness.


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