A blog about reputation, marketing and employee morale.

What do bosses want from their employees?

Posted by Janet Smith on August 18, 2008

I blog about bad bosses all the time. But that doesn’t mean I think all bosses are bad, or that all employees are great. In fact, without a doubt, there are some darn good managers out there who put up with less than desirable behavior from employees and who go above and beyond in trying to help staff members improve their skills, solve their problems, be happier…

So this brings up the question, what do leaders want from their followers? I just came across a great blog entry on this subject on the UK’s BNET site. The blog is called Sterling Performance, and this entry was written by Jo Owen.

Jo asked some bosses to describe traits of excellent employees. In priority order, they mentioned:

  1. Hard work
  2. Proactivity
  3. Intelligence
  4. Reliability
  5. Ambition

The first four are bottom line basics that shouldn’t surprise anyone. The fifth—ambition—may be a bit unexpected. It tells me this: Leaders (the good ones, anyway) want their followers to want to succeed—and they want to help them along the way.

The leaders Jo spoke with said they must be able to trust their employees. She was told, “I forgive most things…I forgive failures as long as people do not repeat the same failure. But when the trust goes, it’s over. I can not work with a team I do not trust.”

That trust goes both ways. Employees want their bosses to be open and honest and straightforward. Bosses want the same thing in return. More on trust in my next post.

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