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Who do you think is the better boss?

By zlitocook ·
One who leads by example or one who walks through the area and tells you to work smarter? By leads by example I mean he will ask who needs help ( this Presupposes he is good at what he is helping with) and stops to help where he can. The other is a type of boss that when he passes through a work area and see's that some one needs help. He will tell them to read up on the subject and work smarter.

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It is not an either/or

by rnmpleasant In reply to Who do you think is the b ...

First, let me say that I once was a programmer who changed his direction to focus on leadership and management. While I still enjoy the technical problem solving aspects, I became burnt out on coding so I shifted my focus.
A good manager will know that his success is the result of productive employees which results from job satisfaction, which results from recognition (public/private verbal, written and award types), rewards (bonus/pay raise money, and comp time or prizes), opportunities (for advancement or in building other/new skills), challenges (creating variety instead of a daily grind) and stability (knowing a mistake can be forgiven, information about where we are and are going is easily available, our jobs will be here tomorrow, there is a place and manner for me to voice my opinions without retaliations) . Many companies can not offer all of these options and many employees do not respond to all of these either. So the challenge is to create fairness and satisfaction in an environment where typically the employees are brilliant, self assured and outspoken and always have opinions about how a manager should do their job (not to mention that the IT/IS organization is also the most ethnically/racially/sexually diverse work force in most US based companies which further increases the challenge since employee expectations also show that diversity). If you think about it, most other business organizations are not made up of people like that which probably explains why I have noticed non technical back grounded managers in IT/IS are not usually that successful. One other challenge to being a good IT/IS manager is that most companies offer little or nothing to the IT/IS manager ?newby? on how to be successful or how to be a good leader. The choices that are being discussed here are not always good either. Since the manager is managing, it is not usually a good thing to have him get into the nitty gritty since he will probably make it worse. How many of us have developed a policy with certain managers that we always tell them everything is fine instead of sharing any actual problems for fear that he may offer to ?help? us make it better. The ?work smarter? approach is not good because it assumes the employee is working stupidly now and if they only stopped being a dumb a@@ then the job would be done. Not a very motivational approach.
In the end, the best boss is one who you believe in and can trust and one who is doing the ?right things? for you as best he can. One who knows your value and isn?t afraid to recognize it publicly. One who is approachable when you have questions or concerns. One who takes time to understand your perspective and to share his with you. One who will allow you to disagree without fear, in fact one who will encourage you to do so if you are not in full agreement. One who shows respect for all his team members and insists that others do as well.

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If there's no I in the team...

by System Sitter In reply to Who do you think is the b ...

The question of which is a better boss is a flaw.
I've seen great leaders fail simply cause they have 'wrong' members.

Granted it is the job of a leader to motivate the 'wrong' member to be productive and etcetera...etcetera ... but in the end... the decision to be productive is not his to make. The members must decide are they going to be productive in a "proper way (I know this could spawn another thread of discussion but it is overlooked far too often)" or not.

And yessss... of course it works the other way around too bad boss makes the entire dedicated and talented group look like idiots... that's my whole point.

The minimum prerequisite for a good team is a decent boss and decent team members.
I uh...
I think ?

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Something different from either choice

by maxwell edison In reply to Who do you think is the b ...

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In my opinion, a good boss has the ability to recognize good people in the first place, and will give those people tasks that might always be slightly above their ability to achieve with their current level of expertise, and then get out of their way and let them achieve. A good boss will provide an atmosphere that allows good people to either succeed or fail on their own, will publicly recognize those achievements, and not always consider failure something bad, but rather an opportunity to learn from one's mistakes.

A good boss will always have an open-door policy and be available to provide help if necessary and/or if asked, but will not micro-manage someone every step of the way (or any step of the way). A good boss will always praise someone publicly, but reprimand and/or correct people privately. A good boss will always be aware of how someone is progressing, generally speaking, but without giving the impression that they are constantly being watched. A good boss will recognize when someone is struggling, and then offer help without being critical or condescending.

A good boss will delegate responsibilities to others, including decision making responsibilities, not necessarily having to make the final decision on each and every little thing himself. A good boss will recognize those who might know more in certain areas than he does; so a good boss is not afraid to hire people smarter than he is. A good boss knows how to identify individual strengths, and collectively build on those strengths for the overall benefit of the whole. A good boss will make people feel as though they are a vital component of the whole, not as someone who is "lucky to have a job". A good boss never talks down to a person, but rather with deserved consideration.

A good boss is steadfast in the convictions and direction of the department/company, not giving "mixed signals" that cause confusion, uncertainty, and inconsistency. A good boss will always give credit to others for the achievements and successes of the department/company, not taking the credit himself, but will generally accept the blame for the failures, at least publicly. A good boss will trust good people to do good things, and will always give the benefit of the doubt instead of suspicion. A good boss will recognize that people have lives outside of work, and will consider those lives more important than work.

There ya' go.

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Not one answer, right.

by DC_GUY In reply to Who do you think is the b ...

This thread has suffered the fate of so many good threads. There are already so many postings, the first time I encountered it, that I can't read them all. But I'll add my ideas and hope that I'm not duplicating too much of what's already been said.

A good boss knows which skill is going to work in a given situation and uses it. There are plenty of people who are motivated by being told to "work smarter," it validates their instinct to find their own "dao" through an assignment. But there are plenty who would rather have a guide than find their own path. A good boss knows which is which.

But as for being able to help, that is simply not always possible. I once had people working for me who supported the OS software on three different brands of mainframes. I was a former expert on one of them, but I knew nothing about the other two. Probably no one in the world had experience on all three.

I would say it's mandatory that a good boss can manage work that they couldn't personally perform. Now that's not the same as being ignorant about it!

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It really matters a lot

by anshul.pal In reply to Who do you think is the b ...

Quite often we say that boss is not good. But it highly depends on his expertise, If he is expert in mission critical applications and you ask him to lead a team for a maintenance stuff, he definitely will not be able to do so. So While rating our BOSS we should keep in mind these facts :
1. Is he properly utilised according to his expertise.
2. Does he possess the right people to work with him.
3. How much experience does he have.

If the people around him are experts in embbedded systems and they are there for maintenance stuff then nobody can help.

So we should take care of many things before arriving on a conclusion regarding our BOSS.

Hope to get responses on this soon.

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Lead by example is the important aspect

by zentross In reply to Who do you think is the b ...

Leading by example is not the same as jumping in and assisting however. The better leaders that I've delt with had differing responsibilities bet consistently demonstrated these traits and their importance :

Committment to the task at hand
Understanding of hindering factors
Did not apply double-standards (e.g. tardiness is not acceptable in subordinates while their 2 hour lunch is completely legit)

The ability to coach and boost staff moral is by far the most important to me. Seeing what needs to be done and makinig sure that the needed tools and skills are available creates a much more productive and satisfying environment instead of breading a nest of back stabbers.

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by angry_white_male In reply to Who do you think is the b ...

I'm a self-taught person with very little formal training and not a single certification. If you don't know the answer - sit down and figure it out (Google can be your best friend). You can show someone how to make something work til you're blue in the face, but if they don't actually do it themselves (in a test environment of course!), they won't learn a thing. By and large, IT is a problem solving environment that requires a level of analytical skill and the ability to think on one's feet.

On the other hand, if you find you have a lot of people who are always in need of help or remedial training - then you need to rethink your hiring process and make sure you're bringing qualified people on board rather than being a glorified vocational training school.

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To answer, and give another thought...

by Pr0x1 In reply to Who do you think is the b ...

In reading all the posts, some answer your question, others give you a better way to look at it. And while both are good, here is the skinny:

To answer your question, I place no value (or respect) in someone who tells me to work smarter and to learn the job at hand if they don't know how to do it themselves or cannot explain why. It makes me question why they got the job in the first place, and throws a yellow flag to not only how the manager got the position, but how the company is being run (I won't say more). A manager who leads by example proves he has "been there, done that..."

HOWEVER, there is much more to being a manager than these two traits... MUCH more. And without re-hashing what all the other respondants have stated to this fact, I suggest either reading all the responses, or asking another question: What makes a good manager (and be specific to your industry, role, title, skill, responsibilities, etc.).

Good luck!

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Both are good in their own way

by CDMUSHAKWE In reply to Who do you think is the b ...

Hey Zlitocook

I think both bosses are good in their own way. The 1st leads by example because he intimately knows the work he is leading. But bosses are not expected to know everything in detail. The 2nd boss has no detailed knowledge of particular areas under his responsibility but instead of blaming his team, he encourages them to read further or maybe he may send you for training.

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