As you look back over your work career, who is the supervisor, manager, or leader that you would identify as your best boss? And more importantly, what was it about them that made them great in your eyes? Take a minute now to identify that person. We’ll use your experience to identify something that will help you in your own personal leadership journey.
Once you’ve got your best boss in mind, take another minute to identify what it was about him or her that made them special and memorable for you. Chances are that you will identify a couple of traits similar to these that other people have identified when we’ve asked this question.
“_____________________ was/is my best boss because he/she …
- Believed in me
- Trusted me
- Gave me an opportunity to grow
- Took me under their wing
- Made work fun
- Treated me fairly
- Went to bat for me
- Stuck their neck out for me
Was your boss’s trait one of these—or something different? While each of us will identify different specific traits that our best boss has, there is probably a word that includes any that you might have come up with. All of us, no matter what our experience, could probably say that our best boss was so special in our eyes because they truly CARED about us.
I know that this is true in my own case. My best boss was Margie Blanchard, the cofounder of our company who I reported to from 2000 to 2003. The traits that made Margie so special in my eyes included that she
- Connected with me
- Acknowledged me
- Respected me
- Expected more from me
Now I know that acronyms can be overdone at times—especially in the consulting business, but I couldn’t help but notice that the first letter of those traits spells CARE.
Magic? I don’t think so, just a great reminder of a key ingredient to being a great boss. Though it will be displayed in many forms, at its core, one of the key traits of our best bosses is that they cared about us.
A Fun Exercise and Way to Celebrate
So let’s have some fun with this and tap into our collective brilliance. I’m a big believer in “catching people doing things right” and that “none of us is as smart as all of us.” Let’s put both of those ideas to work today with a little exercise.
Help me expand on this CARE acronym by adding your boss’s trait into the mix. As the cheerleaders say, “Give me a C, Give me an A, Give me an R, Give me an E!” Just use the COMMENTS button above to type in a trait of your best boss that goes with one of these letters. (For extra credit, take a minute to identify and say thanks to that best boss while you’re here.) I promise you’ll feel good and get off to a good start this week if you do.
Who knows, together we might create one of the truly great leadership acronyms (rivaling SMART goals even!)
And even if we don’t, we will still have a great reminder of this one important trait that we can carry with us today as we work with our colleagues and direct reports.