Great bosses and leaders: What distinguishes them from the rest?

Let’s face it: Heading up an organization, department, or working group is difficult, challenging work. Doing it well requires a thorough knowledge of the work that must be done, a deep understanding of the organization’s culture, and a megaton of emotional intelligence. On many occasions I’ve written about what makes for great bosses and leaders. I’ve collected a few of the more apt posts here:

Positive qualities of my best bosses (2012) — “They earned respect quietly, expressed appreciation when it was merited, and brought out your best. A word of praise could make my day, because I knew it was sincere and meaningful.”

Leadership as light  (2012) — “…(G)ood leadership is a product of both reflection and action, and is grounded in a moral core.”

Great organizational leaders enable and empower others (2011) — “But when it comes to leading organizations, the ability and willingness to encourage, support, mentor, inspire, and permit others to do quality work is the key to success. These leaders allow people to run with things, responsibly but enthusiastically, and sometimes the results can be extraordinary.”

Want a better company? Listen to your employees! (2010) — “Insecure organizations and leaders quietly implement the suggestions of others and don’t provide proper recognition; it’s called stealing credit.  Confident organizations and leaders, however, eagerly bestow appropriate accolades and compensation and build a culture of genuine participation.”

You want good leaders? (2010) — “Attention organizations: If you want good leaders, then don’t promote the kiss ups, the kick downs, the scheming hoop-jumpers, and the ambitious conformists.  Instead, select folks of genuine vision, courage, character, and good judgment. Don’t take my word for it. . . .”

5 responses

  1. During my years as a senior manager in the NHS in the UK, A key characteristic of good and effective managers was and is a ‘bias for action’ i.e.,the ablity to have a discussion or meeting and ensure that after the debate, there was action to be taken by some named person, within a specified timeframe. This was so refreshing to experience or provide…it got things done. Hugh Koch, Cheltenham, UK

  2. Last year I was blessed with the chance to work and learn from the very best director of special education ever. She was encouraging and so very sincere. She told us I will help you all I can. If you want to me to come back to your school to cover this again I will. I will come as often as it takes. When we said we were concerned about taking up too much of her time with our asking questions over the phone, she said, “You don’t understand. I spend all day on the computer. When you guys call, you make my day. I love teaching you.” Needless to say, I finally understand the IEP process and I am never afraid to call and ask questions when I need to.

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