What Separates a Great Boss From a Not-So-Good One?

Here’s a photo of the world’s best boss, from the TV show The Office, courtesy of www.fanpop.com.  But what does a great boss have to do with Good Love?  Be patient, because there indeed is a connection.  In a career of over 33 years, I had some really great bosses, as well as many great employees.

Well, there are two main characteristics of a great boss.  The first is that a great boss makes a priority of supporting their employees and making sure they have everything needed to perform their duties.  After all, if the good employee wants to serve their supervisor and accomplish the mission, the boss must ensure that the employee is supported completely and fully.  There is an assumption here that the employee knows what they need to do and how to do it, and that they are conscientious.  In my many years as supervisor and manager, the vast majority of employees fit this description.  Therefore, supporting and providing resources becomes much more important than some of the other aspects of management.

But the second characteristic is more basic, and the most important.  If a boss has this characteristic, they will be a great boss, and the first characteristic will be an almost automatic byproduct.  A great boss truly cares for their employees, and wants what is best for them, sometimes even when that might not be the most comfortable, convenient, or productive thing for the company.

True care would include forgiveness, for errors or mistakes, or even actions that otherwise piss the boss off.  After all, the only way to be sure to never make a mistake is to never do anything.  While a not-so-good boss might punish unfairly or fail to provide needed support or resources, I’ve been told stories of a couple bosses who made a point of seeking revenge on an employee that pissed them off, even to the point of being deceptive.  “Worse boss” or “horrible boss” would seem appropriate adjectives in that case.

I use the terms good, better, and best to describe love.  But I’ve also addressed bad, ugly love, as well as worse, horrible love.  And indeed, I see parallels between these adjectives for love and a great boss or a horrible boss.  I’ve discussed that one of the strongest and most unconditional loves expressed by humans is that of a mother towards her child.  The mother truly cares for her child and wants what is best for the child, even if that requires “tough love” at times.   She does everything she can to provide for the child’s needs.  And when there is a mistake, or the child does something to piss her off, along with the correction comes forgiveness.  Now I don’t say that a great boss must mother their employees.  What I say is that a great boss truly cares for their employees, much as a mother truly cares for her children.

If a horrible boss is one who unfairly punishes, perhaps seeks revenge, or even is deceptive in that, that is not just the opposite of a good mother.  No, the term that comes to my mind with deception is the Spanish engañar, which I have discussed before.  The term means to deceive or trick, but is commonly used to refer to the deception of being unfaithful to your spouse.  I say that one of the best examples of human love, a mother’s, is also pictured in the care exercised by a great boss.  So too one of the worst examples of human love, adultery, is also pictured by a horrible boss.

There is only one love greater than the ideal mother’s love, better than the care of a great boss.  That is the Best Love of God, the only love that is always true, always complete, and always unconditional.  Only God is willing and able to support us completely, and even forgive us for anything.  1 John 3:16 says:  This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers.

I’ve been very fortunate to have had some really great bosses.  It only takes one or two not-so-good bosses to accentuate the good and great even more.  As we approach Thanksgiving, one of the things I ask myself is did I take enough action to express my gratitude and thank those great bosses for their support and care?  Sadly, I think not.  How about you?  If you have a good or great boss, and have felt their care and support, tell them.  This is the time of the year to give thanks.

About Mark Gredler

I want to move from Good Love to Better Love, share it, and share the Best Love of God. I like ancient and medieval history, especially of Spain. I like photographing Spanish fiestas, and visiting Romanesque churches, from the 11th to 13th centuries. I enjoy traveling, seeing new places, meeting new friends, taking photographs of that, and want to write more about it all.
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7 Responses to What Separates a Great Boss From a Not-So-Good One?

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