You can learn a lot about what people want in a leader by asking them! Over the years, I’ve had a chance to hear hundreds of people respond to the question, “Who was your best boss, and what was it about him or her that made them so special?” The answers, though wide-ranging, (and very personal) have consistently fallen into two main categories.
The first common characteristic focuses on relationships and support. People say that their best boss cared about them, gave them opportunities, and created a great working environment. They made work fun and they were supportive.
Second, there is the performanceand expectations aspect. People will share that their work was demanding, meaningful, and that their boss expected a lot from them. They also share that their best boss saw qualities in them that they didn’t necessarily see in themselves.
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