Weekend Poll Results: The Qualities of A Good Boss

With thanks to all who participated, here are your responses to my question … What qualities do you look for in a boss?

It comes down to being treated with respect

… and isn’t that what everyone wants? Respondents attached the greatest value to a principal or boss treating people across the org chart with respect. Integrity followed close behind. I took a look at the characteristics that generated the highest ratings, and came up with a Top 10.  Are you ready?

 

The 10 Qualities Assistants Most Value in A Boss
  1.    Respectful of people across the org chart
  2.    Integrity
  3.    Invested in the organisation’s success
  4.    Leadership
  5.    Shares information
  6.    Assumes well of the assistant’s efforts unless proven otherwise
  7.    Supports the assistant’s professional development
  8.    Makes the assistant feel valued
  9.   Is a good role model
  10.  Inclusive of the assistant and other colleagues

 

A Look Inside Brother UK Limited

I thought that, since we’re on the topic of what assistants value in a good boss, it would make sense to bring one into the conversation. Enter Phil Jones MBE, the Managing Director (MD) of Brother UK Limited.

How so? Well, with readers around the globe, I know of more than a few who have stellar working relationships with their principals. I simply reached out to one of those individuals.

Last Thursday, I asked Debbie Grimshaw if she and Phil would be willing to offer their thoughts on leadership qualities. It’s indicative of their working relationship and their respective values that the two colleagues were not only prepared to do so, but also had their responses to me the very next day.

 

From the principal’s perspective – Phil Jones MBE

I strive:

  • To encourage, inspire and motivate those people around me to do their best work and contribute readily to our aims.
  • To be honest and open around people relating to business and personal performance.
  • To have high standards at all times, to constantly raise my own capability and the capability of others.
  • To fully understand the ambitions of those people around me, personally and professionally with a view to realising them.
  • To show compassion and care towards my colleagues.
  • To delegate as much as possible in order that I spend my time on things that matter most like noticing small things.
  • To make great decisions and always think of the long term sustainability of the company.

Next, Phil spoke to his working relationship with Debbie. It was clear to me, dear readers, that each of the following is a given for Phil.

  • That she knows when my demands/loads are high and is sensitive to them.
  • She briefs me on informal things in the company that it’s helpful for me to know about.
  • That she knows my horizon at all times, to ensure we resource plan travel, people and processes to deliver the best outcomes.
  • To represent the office of the MD with professionalism and high standards, showing collaboration, helpfulness and openness in her interactions with others (internally and externally).
  • That she can make decisions in my absence knowing my views/direction of travel, thought processes.
  • That she continually helps me to improve the business reputation.

 

From the Executive Support Manager and EA’s perspective – Debbie Grimshaw

Debbie spoke articulately to the qualities she values in Phil.

  • Having a priority slot in Phil’s diary once a week so that I can be aware of what his pressures and deadlines are well in advance, giving me the opportunity to take control and pro-actively think of future actions.
  • Communicating with me clearly and openly, trusting my discretion with information that I may need to have a better understanding and be fully prepared for any situation that may present itself, particularly in his absence.
  • Showing respect for my role as equivalent to other managers in his operations team, allowing me to make judgements and decisions on his behalf and without his consultation, confident that I will always have his full support whatever the outcome.
  • Giving me the opportunity for management and leadership career progression, making my job stimulating, challenging and rewarding. Exploring my strengths and the expertise I have in my role by setting tasks/objective according to my strengths.
  • Giving me responsibility, allowing me to be an ambassador and representative for him and the image he wants to project for the MD’s office makes me feel like I make a difference.
  • Supporting my personal development as well as my professional development. Encouraging me to succeed by pushing out of my comfort zone, seeing my own potential and being proud of the value I bring back to the business.
  • Consistently giving me feedback and keeping me motivated boosts my confidence and my commitment to the business.
  • Takes time to understand me. Caring about my day, my wellbeing, my life outside the office and making me feel comfortable that I can share my inner most thoughts when times are tough.

 

Are you a little envious?

Not all assistants and their principals have such an impressive working relationship, so it’s worth applauding those – such as Debbie and Phil – who are so effectively invested in the successes of their organisations and colleagues.

It’s also interesting to see how many of the values evidenced at Brother UK Limited align with readers’ responses to this particular Weekend Poll. You can check out full details below.

THE DATA

A valued boss: Phil Jones, MBE, Managing Director, Brother UK Limited

 I asked readers to rate a number of criteria on a scale from 1 (nice, but not a priority) to 5 (critical). Here’s what you said.

How important is it to you that your boss establishes clear expectations of you? 

  • 5 out of 5 (critical):  52% of respondents
  • 4 out of 5: 36% of respondents
  • 3 out of 5: 9% of respondents
  • 2 out of 5: 0% of respondents
  • 1 out of 5 (nice but not a priority):  3% of respondents

 

How important is it to you that your boss is able to delegate?

  • 5 out of 5 (critical): 44% of respondents
  • 4 out of 5: 40% of respondents
  • 3 out of 5: 16% of respondents
  • 2 out of 5: 0% of respondents
  • 1 out of 5 (nice but not a priority): 0% of respondents

 

How important is it that your boss give you regular feedback?

  • 5 out of 5 (critical): 31% of respondents
  • 4 out of 5: 43% of respondents
  • 3 out of 5: 21% of respondents
  • 2 out of 5: 5% of respondents
  • 1 out of 5 (nice but not a priority): 0% of respondents

 

How important is it that your boss give you balanced feedback – recognising the good, along with providing constructive criticism?

  • 5 out of 5 (critical): 41% of respondents
  • 4 out of 5: 50% of respondents
  • 3 out of 5: 6% of respondents
  • 2 out of 5: 1.5% of respondents
  • 1 out of 5 (nice but not a priority): 1.5% of respondents

 

How important is it to you that your boss provide you opportunities for autonomy/independent thinking?

  • 5 out of 5 (critical): 56% of respondents
  • 4 out of 5: 33% of respondents
  • 3 out of 5: 6% of respondents
  • 2 out of 5: 3% of respondents
  • 1 out of 5 (nice but not a priority):  0% of respondents
  • 2% of respondents selected “Other”. One person commented, “He doesn’t provide it, he expects it of me.”

 

How important is it to you that your boss coaches you/provides support for your success in the role?

  • 5 out of 5 (critical): 46% of respondents
  • 4 out of 5: 32% of respondents
  • 3 out of 5: 13% of respondents
  • 2 out of 5: 6% of respondents
  • 1 out of 5 (nice but not a priority): 3% of respondents

 

How important is it to you that your boss acknowledges your contributions?

  • 5 out of 5 (critical): 42% of respondents
  • 4 out of 5: 42% of respondents
  • 3 out of 5: 11% of respondents
  • 2 out of 5: 2% of respondents
  • 1 out of 5 (nice but not a priority): 2% of respondents
  • 1% of respondents selected “Other”. One person commented, “Absolutely essential to show appreciation and let others know that you do an ama” (text cut off at this point)

 

How important is it to you that your boss is inclusive of you and other colleagues?

  • 5 out of 5 (critical):  56% of respondents
  • 4 out of 5: 33% of respondents
  • 3 out of 5: 7% of respondents
  • 2 out of 5: 2% of respondents
  • 1 out of 5 (nice but not a priority): 1% of respondents
  • 1% of respondents selected “Other”. One person commented, “We’re all in this together, right?”

 

How important is it to you that your boss demonstrates integrity?

  • 5 out of 5 (critical): 84% of respondents
  • 4 out of 5: 10% of respondents
  • 3 out of 5: 3% of respondents
  • 2 out of 5: 0% of respondents
  • 1 out of 5 (nice but not a priority): 1.5% of respondents
  • 1.5% of respondents selected “Other”. One person commented, “I could not work for someone who was not authentic and honest”.

 

How important is it to you that your boss demonstrate leadership?

  • 5 out of 5 (critical): 72% of respondents
  • 4 out of 5: 25% of respondents
  • 3 out of 5: 1.5% of respondents
  • 2 out of 5: 0% of respondents
  • 1 out of 5 (nice but not a priority): 0% of respondents
  • 1.5% of respondents selected “Other”. One person commented, “I set very high standards of leadership and expect no less from my boss.”

 

How important is it to you that your boss gives you opportunity to provide input?

  • 5 out of 5 (critical): 44% of respondents
  • 4 out of 5: 48% of respondents
  • 3 out of 5: 5% of respondents
  • 2 out of 5: 0% of respondents
  • 1 out of 5 (nice but not a priority): 1.5% of respondents
  • 1.5% of respondents selected “Other”. One person commented, “Of course; I am expected to be a sounding board”.

 

How important is it to you that your boss makes you feel valued?

  • 5 out of 5 (critical): 56% of respondents
  • 4 out of 5: 36% of respondents
  • 3 out of 5: 5% of respondents
  • 2 out of 5: 0% of respondents
  • 1 out of 5 (nice but not a priority): 1.5% of respondents
  • 1.5% of respondents selected “Other”.

 

How important is it to you that your boss supports your professional development?

  • 5 out of 5 (critical): 58% of respondents
  • 4 out of 5: 34% of respondents
  • 3 out of 5: 5% of respondents
  • 2 out of 5: 1.5% of respondents
  • 1 out of 5 (nice but not a priority): 0% of respondents
  • 1.5% of respondents selected “Other”.  One reader wrote, “If I succeed, then he succeeds”.

 

How important is it to you that your boss encourages you to stretch your skills/function outside your comfort level?

  • 5 out of 5 (critical): 39% of respondents
  • 4 out of 5: 42% of respondents
  • 3 out of 5: 15% of respondents
  • 2 out of 5: 2% of respondents
  • 1 out of 5 (nice but not a priority): 0% of respondents
  • 2% of respondents selected “Other”.  One reader suggested that bosses be generous and help their people develop.

 

How important is it to you that your boss is invested in the organisation’s success?

  • 5 out of 5 (critical): 78% of respondents
  • 4 out of 5: 19% of respondents
  • 3 out of 5: 0% of respondents
  • 2 out of 5: 2% of respondents
  • 1 out of 5 (nice but not a priority): 0% of respondents
  • 2% of respondents selected “Other”. One person wrote, “Of course. That’s they’re job.”

 

How important is it to you that your boss treat people across the org chart with respect?

  • 5 out of 5 (critical): 86% of respondents
  • 4 out of 5: 11% of respondents
  • 3 out of 5: 2% of respondents
  • 2 out of 5: 0% of respondents
  • 1 out of 5 (nice but not a priority): 0% of respondents
  • 1% of respondents selected “Other”. One reader commented that this was a no brainer.

 

How important is it to you that your boss be able to acknowledge her/his mistakes?

  • 5 out of 5 (critical): 50% of respondents
  • 4 out of 5: 43% of respondents
  • 3 out of 5: 5% of respondents
  • 2 out of 5: 0% of respondents
  • 1 out of 5 (nice but not a priority): 0% of respondents
  • 2% of respondents selected “Other”. One person wrote that humility and vulnerability are essential for an authentic leader.

 

How important is it to you that your boss share information?

  • 5 out of 5 (critical): 60% of respondents
  • 4 out of 5: 35% of respondents
  • 3 out of 5: 5% of respondents
  • 2 out of 5: 0% of respondents
  • 1 out of 5 (nice but not a priority): 0% of respondents

 

How important is it to you that your boss have your back/assumes well of your efforts unless proven otherwise?

  • 5 out of 5 (critical): 60% of respondents
  • 4 out of 5: 28% of respondents
  • 3 out of 5: 2% of respondents
  • 2 out of 5: 0% of respondents
  • 1 out of 5 (nice but not a priority): 0% of respondents
  • 2% of respondents selected “Other”. One person commented, “We’re a team, right?”

 

How important is it to you that your boss is a good role model?

  • 5 out of 5 (critical): 56% of respondents
  • 4 out of 5: 35% of respondents
  • 3 out of 5: 5% of respondents
  • 2 out of 5: 3% of respondents
  • 1 out of 5 (nice but not a priority): 0% of respondents
  • 2% of respondents selected “Other”. One reader commented on the importance of walking the talk.

 

Lastly, I asked readers to list other qualities you consider critical in a boss. Here’s what you came up with. In some cases, more than one reader offered similar comments and so I’ve consolidated such themes rather than specifically duplicating readers’ comments.

  • A good communicator
  • A listener / active listener / listens to feedback and acts on it
  • A reader and learner
  • Able to say thank you / appreciative
  • Approachable / willing to develop rapport
  • Committed
  • Compensates employees handsomely for contributions
  • Considerate
  • Ethical; high values
  • Honest
  • Intelligent
  • Maximizes the assistant’s expertise and experience
  • Does not micromanage
  • Mindful of staff wellbeing, pressures on staff; particularly mindful of positive mental wellbeing
  • Moral
  • Open to progress, ideas / open minded
  • Personable
  • Professional awareness
  • Quick to apologise if necessary
  • Respectful of people across the organisation / respectful of the assistant / respectful
  • Secure enough to not be threatened by others
  • Strong enough to stand up for employees
  • Supports your projects/initiatives with leadership to ensure progress
  • Servant leadership
  • Trustworthy
  • Values the assistant

 

 

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