But a good boss can be seen in how they make their employees feel and how successfully said employees are doing their jobs.
At the same time, many people simply put up with bad bosses, so you may not actually know just how bad a boss you're being.
Here are some tell-tale signs and how to fix them:
1. You're never there
Yes you're busy, yes you've got lots of important things to be doing, but it’s probably a bit optimistic telling new starters your door is always open and assuming that's job done.
The ways of work are shifting, with many now based from home or across different offices. But having a boss who is available makes a huge difference: so think about platforms that’ll enable you to encourage communication, not just email and the occasional progress meeting.
There are messaging apps like Slack, not to mention Google Hangouts. But do make sure the opportunity is there for face-to-face check ins too.
2. People walk on eggshells around you
At first it might seem like you’re simply a strong presence and people are just being respectful, acknowledging “the boss” has entered the room.
But if you pay more attention and realise you’re not getting much from people when you ask for their contributions, it could be because you’re not just intimidating staff, you’re hindering them from making useful suggestions.
Nobody needs their boss to be their best friend, but taking an interest in your employees and what they get up to outside of work can help. And show a willingness to listen to new ideas without immediate dismissal. It'll go a long way in making yourself more approachable and serve as a reminder that pulling rank is never a way to win over employees.
3. You play favourites
You’re going to like some employees more than others, that's just human nature. But letting that filter into how you treat them and their work can be a disaster – for staff morale in particular.
By all means reward someone who’s doing well, but if you’re showing preferential treatment by constantly giving someone more appealing projects or there’s a hefty imbalance in terms of reward for a job well done, there is a problem.
Make sure you keep tabs on what employees have been allocated to do, and that you haven’t inadvertently been handing all the best jobs to certain people.
Similarly, while you don’t want to be viewed as totally distant, maintaining professionalism is key here so you don’t want to become too familiar either.
4. You skimp on the praise
No, employees shouldn’t need their hands held constantly. But simple recognition of people’s work can often be forgotten. A variety of research has flagged up employees feeling undervalued in the workplace and of course, that often leads to a droop in motivation and can then have a knock-on effect on the level of work they’re delivering.
You’re not going to be tuned into everything everyone is doing at all times, it’s just not feasible. But getting into the habit of saying thank you and telling someone they’ve done a great job on a project, will make a difference. It’s often easy to call up an employee on where they’ve gone wrong, and what they can do better; but often a good job gets taken for granted. Make sure it doesn't.
5. You’re lacking direction
Being a good boss involves many elements, and while some individuals might be good at running a business, they might be less tuned into the emotional intelligence side of things. Others might know everyone in the company, but aren’t leading by example.
Ultimately you need to lead, as well as manage. Motivating a team is an important skill, but you also need to focus on what everyone is working towards and how that’ll be accomplished.
Leading the way means you should know enough about your employees’ work to guide them. And hold back on making grandiose commitments: your employees will respect you more for fulfilling aims and doing what you’ve said you're going to do.