7 Personality Traits of a Great Boss

Does Your Boss Meet Our Criteria?

What Makes for a Good Boss?

Picking a boss, someone you can work with, trust and who can inspire, may be as important to your job satisfaction as the salary and benefits you negotiate.

While you’re making a good first impression, make sure the person on the other side of the table is trying to win you over as well. If he’s looking at his watch or flipping through messages on his smart phone, he may not be that in to you as an employee.

Just as a prospective employer will without a doubt do his homework on your background – checking references and those pesky social media posts – you should take the time to do some research of your own.

Looking at a prospective boss’s Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter accounts could provide some topics to ask about during the interview, Donna Schilder, a leadership, career and business coach based in Long Beach, California, who has her own web site www.DonnaSchilder.com, said.

“You could look to see if you have anything in common, something you can build a rapport with,” Schilder said. “You could also search for clues about what type of person they are and what kind of values they have.”

No boss is likely to have all the traits you’d like to see, but here are seven things you should key in on during the interview.

7. Honesty

It seems obvious, but honesty is important in a leader. If the boss is telling you things about your future with the company that just aren’t true, like there is room for growth when no one has been promoted from within for years, you’re in trouble.

You want someone who will tell it like it is, pull no punches and be realistic about what the future holds. After all if he or she is willing to lie to you, what makes you think they won’t tell tall tales about your performance to their bosses? Next thing you know, you’re doing all the work while he takes credit for the performance behind closed doors.

It’s OK to ask honest questions, Schilder said. “Do you think it’s important to tell the truth, even if it’s painful? How do you help people hear the truth when it’s hard to hear?”

The answers can be telling.

6. Integrity

Integrity goes hand in hand with honesty. You can’t go in with guns ablaze grilling the interviewer, but it is appropriate to ask some questions to get at a boss’s business ethics.

“I think you show your intelligence through the questions you ask,” Schilder said.

You just have to do it delicately. “You could sabotage your chances,” she said. “You have to be really careful.”

5. Commanding Presence

A leader should have what police officers often call a command presence – a confidence that shows he or she is in charge.

“Without it this person’s not going to advocate for you,” Schilder said. “You’re not going to learn a lot from this person.”

If the boss strays too far into self promotion and away from substance, it may be a sign that he or she is a narcissist.

“To me that’s the kind of boss who would make you the most unhappy,” Schilder said. “They tend to rise because they’re confident in themselves, at least they portray themselves that way.”

A narcissist is fairly easy to spot, she said. “Do they use the word we or do they use the word I?” Schilder said. “Sometimes they’re very charming so they can trick you. But if you get a narcissist, that’s going to be a miserable job.

4. Optimism

In any job you want someone who is optimistic – someone who sees good things for the company and good things for you as a part of that company.

You don’t want someone who is talking down about other employees or the company, Schilder said.

You can find that out by asking questions about the future of the company, the future of the department and opportunities for growth.

3. Supportive

Finding a boss who will be supportive is also key, Schilder said.

“You want someone who wants the best for their employees. Someone who wants best for the company, but won’t sacrifice you for the company. They’ll have your back,” she said. “They’ll support you in disagreements.”

During the interview, you should ask questions about how a boss would handle an error or a difficult situation.

Afterwards, don’t be afraid to reach out to other employees of the company to find out how the boss handles mistakes. Does he help employees recover from them or does he blow a gasket?

“Some people will admit they have anger issues,” Schilder said. “If that’s the case, you should run for the hills.”

In some cases, Schilder said, it’s easier to figure out what you don’t want in a boss like a micromanager or a dictator.

2. Inspirational

You should be looking for someone who can inspire, who communicates well his vision for staff and his department, she said.

Depending on the type of job you’re going for, you many want a boss who promotes creativity. “That’s not so important if you’re going for a job as an accountant or an auditor,” Schilder said. But if you’re a writer or in marketing, you want a boss who encourages and is open to the creative process, she said.

1. Sense of Humor

And when all else fails there is one trait that’s key for any good leader – that’s a sense of humor.

“That speaks to flexibility and how (the boss) will react to a mistake,” Schilder said. “You’ll get a sense of whether it’s going to be a fun place to work or not.”

Ask Your Boss for a Raise

Whether your boss meets all the criteria on this list or is a total nightmare, you’re going to have to deal with him/her either way if you want a raise. And Salary.comcan help you get paid fairly what you do.

The first thing you should do is research, so you’re able to come to the table armed with the knowledge of what your job is worth. Use our free Salary Wizard below to find out what’s a fair salary for your position. You can enter your location, education level, years of experience and more to find out an appropriate salary range before you negotiate.

Good luck.

How much are you worth?

For Employers

Individualize employee pay based on unique job requirements and personal qualifications.

Get the latest market pricing for benchmark jobs and jobs in your industry.

For Employees

Analyze the market and your qualifications to negotiate your salary with confidence.

Search thousands of open positions to find your next opportunity.

Related Salary.com Content