It takes a little something extra to be a manager, and not everybody has it. If you’re thinking about moving up the ladder at your organization, see if you have any of these five signs that you’d make a great boss.
You’re there for people.
If you feel you can stand up for your team, that can serve you well as a boss, says Dave Popple, president of Corporate Insights. A good boss will “focus on employees first, customers second,” he says. “If the majority of what the boss says is focused on customers and sales and little is said about employees, they will not stand in the gap for their employees when things get stressful and the best employees will leave.”
The best leaders prevent problems, says Kathleen Brush, and to prevent problems, you have to be observant. “An employee fidgeting while giving an update that Project X is on schedule, an employee that gives an update on a project that is inconsistent with past updates, a sales person that is very confident of a needed sale that doesn’t add up with other available data are all indicators that deserve follow up — now.”
Leaders who accept the reports that there isn’t a problem even when the evidence says otherwise won’t succeed for long. “Someone who is observant and follows up on what they have seen and heard has an extremely valuable management skill,” Brush says.
Someone who can feel and understand another person’s pain and happiness is cut out to be a good boss, says Doug Fleener, president and managing partner for Dynamic Experiences Group. “They’re better able to read employees and connect with them as a boss and person,” he says.
A recent study by the Center for Creative Leadership finds that empathy is fundamental to leadership because it is a key part of developing relationships. It defines empathy as being sensitive to others who seem overworked; showing interest in other people’s hopes and dreams; being willing to help employees with personal problems, and being compassionate when others discuss a personal loss — is positively related to job performance. The study found that bosses who show empathy to the people they manage are seen as better performers by their own managers.
“Unfortunately some hiring/promoting managers misunderstand that trait,” Fleener says. “They see it as being sympathetic, which is a problem as sympathetic managers don’t often hold people accountable.”
You’re willing to be coached.
If you can take feedback and coaching well and grow from it, that trait can serve you well as a boss. “A person who appreciates and seeks out feedback usually has a healthy viewpoint on feedback,” Fleener says. “They’re able to give their direct reports feedback in a direct and tactful way. People who don’t take feedback well rarely give it.”
It’s important to be flexible, Popple says. “They should be able to adjust their leadership style to the situation,” he says.
You’ve got talent.
Obviously, you need to get the job done. If you’re a high performer, you can create a culture and framework where things get done, says Patrick Lynch, president of the Frontier Group. “This can provide a great training and advancement opportunity,” he says.