Department of Marketing

Defining the Really Great Boss

Andrew Thomas, The University of Akron


What makes a great boss? Bosses don't become great because of their title, rank, degree of authority, office size, or benefits package. Great bosses aren't even necessarily great managers. Instead, they possess a set of core competencies that set them apart from mere managers. The skill set of great bosses entails five qualities: they do the right thing for the right reason; they never make the same mistake twice; they set their personal expectations higher than those of their bosses; they go to their bosses with action plans, not problems; and they follow up. If a boss has only one of these characteristics, he or she is probably very successful. But application of all five defines what it means to be a great boss, to be successful in good times and bad, through change and adversity, and to be recognized as such by the people you work for—as well as by the people who work for you.