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Types of Bosses: Traits of Good Bosses

Different people define boss in diverse ways, but in the management sense, a boss is someone who’s responsible for other staff members and accountable for company goals and employee development. Regardless of the duties or management style of a boss, a good boss definition is one that focuses on utilizing the unique skill sets of your employees in an optimal fashion.

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What is a boss?

The short definition of the word boss is someone who serves in a supervisory role and has important responsibilities within a company or organization. However, this boss meaning also refers to someone responsible for selecting, training and developing employees, ensuring departmental operations are completed and goals are met.

The boss is usually the last stop for decision-making within a department and plays a critical part in the organization’s overall success. For these reasons, it’s important that bosses are prepared for what’s ahead of them in their careers.

Making important decisions that impact everyone in a given department isn’t a task to be taken lightly. That’s why many managers read articles and books and sign up for workshops on management types and leadership.

When looking for ways to improve their performance, bosses should strive to develop these key skills:

  • Problem-solving: Managers should have a good handle on problem-solving. This includes the ability to not only find solutions to problems, but also recognize when there’s a problem in the first place.
  • Time management: Bosses are responsible both for self-managing their time and securing the time for others. The means bosses with effective time management skills typically keep production and morale levels high.
  • Empathy:While it may not seem like the most intuitive management trait to develop, expressing empathy often proves important for managers who work with employees. It demonstrates high emotional intelligence and the ability to meet the needs of other people.
  • Decision-making: Closely related to problem-solving in the key list of managerial traits, good decision-making skills make for good bosses. The best managers can make quick, effective decisions and execute them either directly or by delegating to other staff members.

3 management styles bosses use

Though there are many types of bosses, there are three management types that shape a boss’s management style. These are:

  • Authoritarian
  • Democratic
  • Laissez-faire


An authoritarian manager is sometimes called autocratic. Autocratic managers can be very effective in how they handle conflict and poor conduct, since they tend to dole out punishment to eliminate negative behavior and reward positive behavior.

This doesn’t always make for the friendliest manager, but in the appropriate context an authoritarian manager, like Steve Jobs, for instance, can be an inspiring visionary with high standards to which all employees must rise. This makes autocratic leadership an effective choice for some managers.


A democratic boss is quick to consult their team for opinions. These leadership-focused managers are more likely to call meetings to strategize over current events and initiatives in the workplace.

Democratic leaders are collaborative individuals who understand the importance of delegation and how to do it correctly, and they typically work to empower their team to become a part of the decision-making process. These types of bosses tend to create cohesive teams with high levels of productivity when given proper support by employers.


Considered the least effective of the three management types, laissez-faire leadership refers to a hands-off approach that gives employees full autonomy to do as they will. A strong laissez-faire leader checks in with employees routinely to keep track of progress on goals and ensure those in their charge have what they need to complete projects.

Sometimes, however, weak laissez-faire leaders don’t check in at all and the company culture, as well as production, ends up completely dependent on the employees and their values and abilities.

FAQs about bosses

The answers to these frequently asked questions can help you become a better boss:

How should bosses ask employees for feedback?

To get honest feedback from employees, it’s important for small businesses to create a culture where feedback is valued and not feared. This type of culture typically lends itself to a democratic leadership style that involves employees in some key workplace decisions. During meetings, bosses can then ask for feedback by providing anonymous channels for reception and analysis of employee comments, concerns and questions.

How do I know which management style to choose?

Choosing the right management style means deciding which style resonates with your personality, approach to leadership and workplace. For example, if you make better decisions on your own or by consulting only trusted associates, an authoritarian leadership style might suit you best. Likewise, if you place strong value on input and advice, a democratic leadership style provides opportunities to glean insight and ideas from your staff. If you have a high amount of trust in your staff or have a business in a sphere where self-starters are commonplace, lassiez-faire leadership may meet your requirements.

What are some essential traits of a good boss?

Good bosses empower employees. By wearing the hats of mentor, coach and even friend, good bosses inspire workers to do their best and give them room to grow into leadership roles themselves should they so desire. Good bosses are supportive and care about the welfare of those beneath them, and they show appreciation for a job well done, helping to boost team morale. They also share personal experiences when inevitable failures occur. Most of all, good bosses help smooth the way for employees, treating everyone the same and ensuring everyone has what they need to succeed.

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