What Qualities Do You Most Value in a Boss: Poll Results

Last month we ran a poll asking you what qualities you most value in a boss. The options ranged from a more general sense of fairness or consistency to a more specific interest in one’s career or personal life.

Each of the options offered got at least one vote showing that people have a wide variety of ideas of what makes a good boss. This shows that, to a certain extent, finding a good management situation is more about matching people with similar values as opposed to trying to find one particular set of values in every supervisor.

That said, there were a couple of clear front runners in our polling. 29.4% of people chose fairness as the most important quality and 26.6% of people chose openness to input. I am not surprised that fairness was at the top of the list. The desire for fairness is such an essential human value. People cling to the idea that their hard work will be rewarded and that somebody else’s slacking will ultimately come back to bite them.

Openness to input is ultimately the ability to listen to employees. It doesn’t always have to mean that the advice given to supervisors is followed to the letter but only that it is listened to and considered thoughtfully. The feeling that one is listened to is so closely tied to the feeling that one is valued within an organization. Supervisors who can make their employees feel listened to go a long way to making them feel like they are engaged.

Consistency and clarity of communication tied with each getting 11.8% of the vote which is notable because both of these qualities reflect employees desire to simply know what is expected of them. While a desire for fairness may ultimately trump, many people can even thrive in difficult workplaces if they have a clear idea of what they need to do.

The other options: great organizational skills, an interest in my career or personal life, generosity/kindness, and flexibility rounded out the list with only a handful of votes each. They are all certainly important and valuable qualities but it seems like they are more of a bonus than an essential attribute like fairness or the ability to listen to employees.

Did these poll results surprise you? Do you think supervisors in your workplace have the qualities valued here?

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