1 March 2024

12 Traits Every Boss Should Have

By Ronald Smith

Being a good boss is about more than just holding a title. It’s about embodying certain characteristics that make you an effective leader. Here are 12 important traits that every boss should strive to develop:

  1. Confidence: As a boss, it’s crucial to believe in yourself and your abilities. When you exude confidence, your team will feel secure and inspired.
  2. Communication: Clear and open communication is key to effective management. Be sure to listen attentively to your team members and express your thoughts and expectations clearly.
  3. Flexibility: Adaptability is essential for success in a constantly changing work environment. Be open to new ideas and willing to adjust your plans accordingly.
  4. Empathy: Understanding the needs and feelings of your team members fosters a positive and supportive work environment. Show empathy and offer support when needed.
  5. Accountability: A responsible boss takes ownership of their actions and holds themselves accountable. Lead by example and take responsibility for mistakes or shortcomings.
  6. Vision: Having a clear vision for the future helps guide your team towards success. Communicate your goals and inspire your team to work towards a shared vision.
  7. Decisiveness: A decisive boss is able to make tough decisions in a timely manner. Trust your instincts and gather the necessary information to make informed choices.
  8. Delegation: Recognize that you can’t do everything yourself. Delegate tasks to capable team members and trust them to get the job done.
  9. Positivity: Maintain a positive attitude even in challenging situations. Your optimism will inspire and motivate your team.
  10. Respect: Treat your team members with respect and dignity. Everyone deserves to be valued and appreciated for their contributions.
  11. Growth mindset: Embrace a growth mindset and encourage your team to do the same. Foster a culture of continuous learning and improvement.
  12. Humility: A humble boss acknowledges their limitations and is willing to learn from others. Be open to feedback and always strive to improve.

By embodying these traits, you can become a boss that not only manages, but truly leads. Your team will be inspired to work hard, collaborate, and achieve success together.

12 Traits Every Boss Should Have

Being a good manager means not only understanding how to read people and ensure they work to their strengths, but also so much more. That’s why I asked 12 entrepreneurs from the Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) the following question:

What characteristic of being a manager has helped you the most in the past year, and why?

Here are some insights from members of the YEC community:

Effective management qualities

1. Recognizing what demotivates

Instead of trying to inspire your teammates, it’s better to figure out what might be making them feel unmotivated and assist in resolving it. It could be an excess of administrative tasks in their job, a lack of acknowledgment, an unclear career path, or something related to their personal life. Whatever the issue may be, take the time to identify it and eliminate it. That’s the key to motivating others. – Finn Kelly, WE LOVE NUMBERS

2. Making Feedback a Priority

When it comes to evaluating my team’s performance, I’ve learned that waiting until the end of the year is not effective. It’s overwhelming for employees to receive a big pile of feedback all at once. That’s why I’ve chosen to provide frequent feedback instead. One method that has been highly successful for me is having a short one-on-one meeting with each employee every week. It only takes a few minutes, but the guidance and direction it provides are extremely valuable. – Elle Kaplan, LexION Capital

3. Making the Most of Expertise

When you start your own business, you have to do a little bit of everything. But soon enough, you realize that there are certain tasks that are better left to specialists. As your company grows, it’s important to fire yourself from those roles and hand them over to experts who excel in those areas. This is a sign of a great manager. – Sharam Fouladgar-Mercer, AirPR

4. Being Honest About Not Having All the Answers

I used to answer everything right away. That means I made decisions based on my gut feeling. But in the last year, I’ve been trying something different. When an employee brings up a complex issue, I slow down. Even if I’m sure of my answer, I say, Thanks for asking. I’m not sure, but I’ll get back to you later today. This gives me time to research and give a solid response. – Aaron Schwartz, ModifyWatches.com

5. Being a Direct Communicator

My team knows me as someone who gives straightforward advice like, Tell the client X or Next, you need to do Y. I don’t have time to overthink most decisions, so it’s natural for me to communicate directly. – Nicole Munoz, Start Ranking Now

6. Having Empathy and Patience

As a manager, it’s important for me to be empathetic and patient. Empathy helps me understand and connect with each team member, so we can work together towards company goals. Patience allows me to give my team members the space they need to perform, while still setting clear and achievable goals.

7. Being Mindful of Others

I make a point to pay attention to my team members, even if they’re not talking directly to me. I keep track of important dates on the team calendar, look at their schedules, and take note of their work. When someone does a great job, I make sure to recognize and appreciate their efforts. I’ve seen how this boosts motivation and leads to better results.

8. Keeping Everyone Updated

At GumGum, we have these awesome quarterly meetings where I get to chat with the whole team. I give updates on what we’ve accomplished, talk about the challenges we’re facing, share our plans for the next quarter, and answer any questions that come up. It’s a great way to bring everyone together and make sure we’re all on the same page about where we’re headed.

9. Making Goals You Can Measure

Here’s a tip from Peter Boyd at PaperStreet Web Design: set goals for your team that you can measure. It makes things so much easier when it comes time to do performance reviews. Everyone knows the goal, and if we achieve it, we all reap the rewards.

10. Giving Employees Power to Grow

You know, it’s really important to give your employees the power to grow into leaders in your business. If you’re always telling them what to do, they’ll never learn how to solve problems on their own. But if you let them go above and beyond their job, they’ll face all sorts of situations that will help them improve their skills and make your company even better. ~ Aron Susman, TheSquareFoot

11. Roll Up Your Sleeves

We’re always trying to make our processes better and smoother. To really understand my team and our customers, I like to answer the phones and work alongside my sales and operations teams. By getting to know their challenges and getting a closer look at our customers, I can make smarter decisions for Trustify. ~ Jennifer Mellon, Trustify

12. Learning to Separate Feelings from Choices

When I stopped taking things too personally with my team, it became easier for me to make smart decisions about who stays and who goes in our company. By stepping back and not letting my emotions cloud my judgment, I gained the ability to see any conflicts or obstacles more clearly and deal with them directly. – Blair Thomas, First American Merchant