15 Things The Best Bosses Do

NBC/30 Rock

Everyone has scandalous about the terrible bosses they’ve had — but what about the good ones? What mysterious combination of qualities does a person need to be a good boss? It can be tough being a boss, but here are a few ways people most often tend to succeed at bossing others around.

1. They impart wisdom.

Like Jack Donaghy on “30 Rock,” the best bosses instill valuable kernels of wisdom in their employees. They may teach you how to deal with people like an adult; they may teach you certain technical skills; maybe they’ll just show you how to spray down hornets’ nests without spraying yourself in the face. Either way, these will be skills you’ll always find useful.

2. They forgive small failings.

The best bosses are the ones who don’t act like the world is ending if you make a minor mistake and don’t make you spend every day constantly clenched up, wondering what obscure thing you’ll screw up next.

3. They don’t care if you’re consistently 10 minutes late.

If you find yourself blessed with a boss who understands that getting up in the morning takes all the effort you have and that traffic patterns are not exactly the same every single day, hold on and never let go.

4. They delegate work without sounding like a drill sergeant.

Some bosses know how to take charge while still being polite; others can’t make a simple request without inciting mutiny among their employees and inspiring at least three potential murder-suicide pacts.

5. They offer constructive criticism.

If done correctly, you’ll be instilled with the urge to do better next time without feeling like a big pile of dog crap.

6. They value their employees.

They let you know that not only do they notice when you do things right, they appreciate you for it; they give you great performance reviews; they trust your judgment; and when budget troubles arise, they don’t immediately discard you like a used plastic fork.

7. They bring in doughnuts.

Everyone loves doughnuts.

8. They let you leave early sometimes.

Leaving early is the Holy Grail of every job. The bosses that understand you won’t be doing anything productive in the last 10 minutes of the day and want to beat the traffic are the most awesome bosses. Bonus points if they want to leave early to beat the traffic themselves.

9. They have the weirdest stories from their youth.

Nothing makes the time pass more quickly than learning about how your boss once climbed out a second-story window during detention or used to brew illegal moonshine in their backyard.

10. They inspire loyalty.

This doesn’t necessarily mean acting like they’re best buddies with every employee; in fact, over-familiarity is often a sign of insincerity. Inspiring loyalty is a complex thing, but in general, it involves fairness, competence at one’s job, the right amount of enthusiasm and doughnuts.

11. They tell you you’re doing a great job, even if you’re not necessarily doing a great job.

If you’re totally slacking, a good boss will probably not tell you you’re doing a great job; however, if you’re trying really hard but still feel like you suck at everything, a good boss will realize this and offer you some much-needed encouragement, which will ideally inspire you to actually do a great job.

12. They make you not dread going to work.

Bad bosses tend to bring out your worst qualities, one of which is considering just not showing up to work every day. Good bosses make you actually want to be in their presence.

13. They write you a real letter of recommendation when you need one.

Not just a form letter — a personalized, glowing letter of recommendation that makes you sound so much better than you really are and may possibly bring a few tears to your eyes, which you will insist are due to the dust in the air.

14. They’re not pushy.

After they tell you to do something, they trust you to do it without being reminded eight times that you need to do this thing. This, ironically, tends to lead to a more productive workplace rather than a micromanaged one that quickly slides into chaos and resentment.

15. They remind you what time it is.

The best bosses notice when you come and go, so if you get too absorbed in what you’re doing, they’ll actually remind you that it’s time to go home.