Good Boss or Bad Boss?

Some people ask me how they can tell if a leader or a manager has high emotional intelligence or not.  My view is we all know already.  Let me explain.

Are you a good boss or a bad bossDo you consider yourself to be a good boss or a bad boss?  Or better still, if I asked your team if they considered you to be a good boss or a bad boss, what would they say?  Whether we are considered good or bad is not something we can dictate; it’s only through our behaviour that we can influence how others will judge us.

Try this exercise. Go through in your mind all of the bosses you’ve had in the past.  It’s probable that you would consider some of them to be bad bosses and some good.  Now think of the worst boss you’ve had and note down some of his or her traits.  What were the behaviours that made him or her a bad boss?  Now consider the best boss you ever had.  What behaviours and traits did that person have when managing you?  Then compare the two lists.

It’s an exercise I’ve done as part of leadership development workshops.  Typical findings are:

Worst Boss

– didn’t listen

– bad tempered

– poor communicator

– tactless

– rigid in his/her ideas

– couldn’t make decisions

– was critical of me

– held grudges

Best Boss

– had a clear vision

– listened to me

– brought the best out in me

– resilient

– an excellent communicator

– approachable

– had good judgement

– remained calm under pressure

You may have slightly different points to those I’ve listed; however it’s very likely that the traits you have listed for your worst boss, like my list above, equate to someone with low emotional intelligence; and your traits of your best boss equate to someone with high emotional intelligence.

We all know what makes a good leader or manager and it’s generally the traits and behaviours exhibited by someone with high emotional intelligence. The good news is these types of behaviours aren’t fixed; they can be developed and improved.  Everyone can learn to be a better boss than they are now.

So consider your own management style and behaviours.  What would you need to change to become more like the best boss from your past?

Mike Jones specialises in developing emotional intelligence.  If you would like to improve your leadership skills call him now on +44 (0)1908 509088 or email

About Mike Jones

Mike Jones is an executive coach specialising in developing Emotional Intelligence through transitional and performance coaching. You can contact him directly on +44(0)7747 011 589 or via

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