What do you think makes a great boss? (Pixabay/Free-Photos)

John Maxwell and Kevin Myers are two great bosses for whom I have worked in my ministry career. They are both strong visionary leaders, creative, empowering and love God. I'm grateful for them both.

I have also known many bosses that other people work for who are a cross anywhere between Mr. Rogers and Godzilla. Extremes I know, but bad bosses are unfortunately all too common.

Over the years, I've interviewed hundreds of church staff and asked them what they want in a great boss. This post reflects those answers and my experience.

Before we tackle the main list, here's a quick outline of the basics everyone has said they valued and essentially assumed:

  1. Love Jesus: humble spirit, servant heart, hears God's voice
  2. Continued Growth: secure, learning, practicing leadership
  3. Strong Character: Trustworthy, living by same standards they expect, discipline to do the right thing.

5 Traits of a Great Boss:

1. They know how to manage the tension between making things happen and making staff happy.

As a boss, you are not responsible for the happiness of your staff. Each of us is responsible for our own happiness. But some bosses try anyway. Good heart, bad leadership. There is a fine line between the leader who gets results and the one who just wants everyone happy.

  • Boss extreme type one: all about the relationships.
  • Boss extreme type two: all about the results.

The truth is you must lead in the reality of both ends of the tension. The team needs to work and play. They need to be challenged and cared for; getting the balance right is tough. They need courage to make the tough decisions, and a great boss needs wisdom to wrestle the margin between kindness and productivity.

2. They know what they're doing!

It's difficult to lead if you're not really good at what you do. Staff will lose confidence in you and even in themselves if it becomes evident that you struggle with your role as a supervisor. If you are struggling, get some professional leadership coaching as soon as possible.

  • Let's just say it; great bosses are smart.
  • Great bosses are competent.
  • Great bosses are out in front and lead the way.

3. They are committed to the development of their team.

Great bosses take the time and utilize the resources to invest in the personal development of their team. They want more for their staff than from them.

  • A great boss genuinely cares about the people on the team and treats them with respect.
  • A great boss pays careful attention to leverage strategic and practical coaching moments.

4. They intentionally and consistently empower the team.

Effective development requires empowerment. Therefore, it is important to grasp and practice the art of empowerment entirely. I'm giving a brief outline here, but it deserves much more time and attention than the length of this article can offer. Let me refer you to my book Amplified Leadership for a more thorough treatment on empowerment.

  • Trust with responsibility
  • Train for competency
  • Unleash with authority
  • Communicate for clear expectations
  • Believe in for maximum results

5. They know how to create an environment conducive to success.

Seeing the big picture, knowing what's going on, anticipating and knocking down problems, as well as setting the stage for maximum wins is at the core of what a great boss does.

  • A great boss knows how to read the playing field.
  • A great boss knows the direction the team should be headed, and how to get there.
  • A great boss knows how to create positive team morale.

Dan Reiland is the executive pastor at 12Stone Church in Lawrenceville, Georgia. He previously partnered with John Maxwell for 20 years, first as executive pastor at Skyline Wesleyan Church in San Diego, then as vice president of leadership and church development at INJOY.

This article originally appeared at danreiland.com.

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