What makes a good boss?: Survey examines keys of effective managers

Employees want bosses who empower and challenge them, according to the survey. (Thinkstock)

WASHINGTON – Oct. 16 is Boss’s Day — a day to show appreciation to the ones in charge.

So, what do most of us look for in a manager?

A survey from Harris Interactive, commissioned by the Workforce Institute, finds workers want a boss who invests in their professional development — even above creating a fun work environment.

A demanding, high-achieving boss is preferred over one who’s nice but ineffective. According to the survey, 75 percent of employees with managers would choose the high achiever.

“Employees are saying they don’t need their boss to be their best friend, rather it’s important to them that they are able to work effectively, be challenged, and grow,” President of ITM Group Inc. Sharlyn Lauby said about the study in a news release.

According to the survey, some of the personal traits employees like in their managers are:

  • Honest (78 percent)
  • Goal oriented (44 percent)
  • Compassionate (40 percent)

Also, 76 percent of workers found jargon annoying. Examples of this include:

  • “Think outside the box” (25 percent)
  • “I don’t care how, just get it done” (24 percent)
  • “It’s on my radar” (19 percent)

In America and Australia, the Harris survey found that recognition and individual praise are appreciated, but many Indian workers prefer recognition in a peer environment.

The survey polled more than 2,000 employees online from Sept. 24-26, 2013. Of those surveyed, 809 were full-time/part-time employees who have managers. Additionally, researchers polled more than 2,100 employees in Australia and India of whom more than 1,4000 are full-time/part-time workers with managers.

WTOP’s Veronica Robinson contributed to this report. Follow @VRobWTOP and @WTOP on Twitter.

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