According to a Monster survey, here is how employees rated their boss:

  • 38% of respondents answered “1 (horrible)”
  • 16% of respondents answered “2”
  • 16% of respondents answered “3”
  • 13% of respondents answered “4”
  • 17% of respondents answered “5 (excellent)”

70% of employee’s aren’t thrilled with their manager. While only 17% rate their boss as excellent. According to Mary Ellen Slayter, Career Advice Expert for Monster. “Having an adversarial relationship with your direct superior can negatively impact your life in countless ways with daily stress and stunted career growth generally being the most common.”

We know (if you don’t – you can read it here), the four non-negotiable qualities that employees have of their leaders are:

-Ability To Inspire
-Ability To Motivate

And the great Dora Wang of TINYpulse covered some of these things in a terrific article:


Citing a previous article, When Good Employee Qualities Aren’t Good Leadership Qualities, “Among the top five things employees want to change about their managers, many of them are about leadership qualities such as communications skills and empathy. Can these things actually be changed? In other words, are leaders born or made? Are the characteristics of a good leader learned or instinctive?”

Innate Leadership Qualities

1. Empathy
This powerful quality allows leaders to connect with their employees on a deeper level and understand how they’re feeling. It’s about putting yourself in other people’s shoes and spending more time listening rather than talking. When you have this level of understanding, you can make better decisions for everyone.

2. Passion
We’ve all known a leader who is so in love with what they do and who believes so deeply in an idea or cause. It’s contagious! And passion sure can’t be faked. Passion is what motivates employees to go the extra mile, and most of the time, you’re either passionate about something or you’re not. There’s not a lot of middle ground.

3. Humbleness
A humble leader is one who gives credit to others when deserved, who calls on colleagues for help, and who realizes that the success of the company depends on all employees, not just the big boss. Ego is not something that develops overnight; the level of your ego is usually a part of your innate personality.

In contrast, here are the qualities that leaders can work to develop:

1. Communication skills
An effective communicator clearly explains tasks, deadlines, and expectations while inspiring and motivating a workforce. Sure, some people are naturally more articulate or communicative than others, but being a skilled communicator takes time and practice.

2. Transparency
It may be easier to have tough conversations behind closed doors, but employees want to know what is going on. The best leaders share where the company is headed, what is going right or wrong, and what needs to be improved.

3. Trustworthiness
If this were an innate quality, we would surely have more trust in the world. Unfortunately, building trust is one of the hardest things to do, and it takes a lot of time to foster personal relationships, act on promises, and show that you are someone of your word.


They Are Passionate About Everything They Do

The best leaders are able to motivate themselves. They have an internal driving force that compels them to deliver greatness and inspire others to ravenously go after their goals. Passionate managers can instill passion through their communication with and support of their team members. Even the most pedantic of tasks they are stuck with, they make them an important part of the business (or they champion for it to be eliminated from the business).

They Work Incredibly Hard
Great retail leaders are focused on delivering high-value content. They are high-productivity workers. They are the role models for their team on how to work and produce the best results. They stay focused, they help others when the opportunity arises, and they live the values and vision of the organization each work day.

They Communicate Clearly And Effectively

There are four components to great communication:
1. Invention:
This means you are sharing high-value content not just talking to talk. You are talking to share, teach, instill, and energize. People will listen to high-value content because they can learn. You will lose their ear, trust, belief if you are speaking just to be heard.

2. Arrangement/Organization:
There are six parts inside this component: The introduction, the statement of facts, the discussion of facts, the proof of facts, the refutation of possible objections, and the conclusion. When you are communicating with your team, the best retail leaders have influence and can persuade their team through effective communication and the sharing of ideas and direction. This part is the “meat and potatoes” part.

3. Style
So arrangement is what you are saying and “style” is how you are saying it. This is the most important element in effective communication. Delivery of information with confidence is key to having your team respect what you are saying and selling. Infuse humor, stories, and reality into your communication to protect the human element – if you have a few minutes listening to Winston Churchill’s speech above you will see why he was one of the most phenomenal communicators in history.

4. Memory
This part goes hand in hand with style. Being able to reference the importance of information without having to rifle through emails and pause your communication to reference something makes for much more understandable and confident communication. In super simple terms, be prepared.

They communicate using all of these components and make even the most challenging information understandable and easy to digest. They also communicate with a optimistic spirit to energize their team.

They Proactively Address Challenges and Ambiguity In Business With Confidence and Determination
When the going gets tough, your team will look to you for guidance and direction (and they will take their emotional cues from you). Having a full understanding of how your team fits into the situation and the course of action you will take to overcomes obstacles and communicate that action with compelling confidence. You will have to make decisions for your team but collaborate for them if the situation is ambiguous. If it effects them, involve them in the process.

They Listen To Others

Here is a great article from Skills You Need that covers the “10 Principals Of Listening”. Here are the points:

(1) Stop Talking
(2) Prepare Yourself To Listen: Relax
(3) Put The Speaker At Ease
(4) Remove Your Distractions (100% Focus On What is Being Said)
(5) Empathize
(6) Be Patient (Don’t Take A Pause As A Cue To Start Speaking)
(7) Avoid Personal Prejudice (Try To Be Impartial)
(8) Listen To Their Tone
(9) Listen For Ideas – Not Just Their Words
(10) Wait and Watch For Non-Verbal Communication Cues

And from Matt Myatt and Customer Think:

  1. It’s not about you: Stop worrying about what you’re going to say and focus on what’s being said. Don’t listen to have your opinions validated or your ego stroked, listen to be challenged and to learn something new. You’re not always right, so stop pretending you know everything and humble yourself to others. If you desire to be listened to, then give others the courtesy of listening to them.
  2. You should never be too busy to listen: Anyone can add value to your world if you’re willing to listen. How many times have you dismissed someone because of their station or title when what you should have done was listen? Wisdom doesn’t just come from peers and those above you – it can come from anywhere at anytime, but only if you’re willing to listen. Expand your sphere of influence and learn from those with different perspectives and experiences – you’ll be glad you did.
  3. Listen to non-verbals: People say as much (if not more) with their actions, inactions, body language, facial expressions, etc., as they do with their verbal communications. Don’t be lulled into thinking that because someone is not saying something they’re not communicating. In fact, most people won’t overtly verbalize opposition or disagreement, but they will almost always deliver a verry clear message with their non-verbals.
  4. Listen for opportunity: Intuitive listeners are looking for the story behind the message, and the opportunity beyond the issue. Listening is about discovery, and discovery can not only impact the present, but it can also influence the future.
  5. Let listening be your calling card: One of the best compliments you can be paid is to be known as a good listener. Being recognized in this fashion will open doors, surface opportunities, and take you places that talking never could. Listening demonstrates that you respect others, and is the first step in building trust and rapport.
  6. Recognize the contributions of others: One of the most often overlooked aspects of listening is thanking others for their contributions. If you glean benefits from listening to someone, thank them. Even if no value is perceived, thank them for their time and input. Never forget to acknowledge those who contribute energy, ideas, actions or results. Few things go as far in building good will as recognizing others.

They Can Be Optimistic About All SituationsThe best retail leaders can absolutely put on a brave face. We all know that retail can be frustrating and at times excruciating but, again, people will look to their leader to determine how to handle those moment. Great retail leaders, as mentioned earlier, inspire, motivate, are empathetic, and involved. Being an active and encouraging presence in the bad times, just as much [if not more] than the good times will keep your team in a positive frame of mind as well. It’s all about what you CAN do.

They Are Transparent and Genuinely Human
The best retail leaders remember they are people first. They share information with their team understanding that they are talented, intelligent adults. Strong retail leaders will proactively share their mistakes, their stories. They respect their team and earn respect through being involved and honest about who they are as individuals.

They Learn Something New Everyday

Great leaders are voracious learners. They understand, and are open about, what they don’t know and they do not wait for someone to teach them. They seek out information. They actively share what they learn. We, all of us, are happier [2 times happier] at work when we are challenged and intrigued by our work but in many cases L&D isn’t available. They proactively share their newly acquired knowledge with their team. They also are incredibly skilled at finding people to add to their team who are smarter than they are to leverage their strengths and learn from them.

They Are Organized
Organization effects so many areas in business. It effects how you communicate [see above], how you prioritize, how you manage your time. Great leaders invest the time needed into organization to maintain and handle on all of their tasks and accountabilities.

Organization helps:
-Lower stress
-Increase working space

They Recognize and Appreciate Results
This is an easy one. Great leaders recognize, appreciate, and reward their high-productivity, high-impact employees – the people that make the biggest difference in your business. Bad leaders think great performance equals more work. For those that contribute, collaborate, and improve the business – great leaders use them as inspiration to their coworkers and the organization and they celebrate their contributions.

From Bersin by Deloitte, “Companies that excel at employee recognition are on average 12 times more likely than their peers to generate strong business results, including higher profitability and better market leadership positions. In addition, in organizations where recognition occurs, employee engagement, productivity and customer service are about 14% better than in companies that do not reward and recognize employees well”. [Source: Business News Daily]

They Reinvent Their Approach For Maximum Understanding
The most awesome retail leaders have a solid understanding of the individuals who make up their team. They know how to reassess their communication styles to meet the needs of their team members both as individuals and a collective unit. They can inspire and motivate both with confidence and influence. They understand when to deliver information at a high-level or how to simplify the information for their audience to digest and action. They also encourage and solicit questions from their team.

They Inspire Creativity and Innovation To Deliver Phenomenal Results

The best retail leaders understand that in order to drive results and support growth you sometimes need to bend the rules a bit. They don’t hinder their team by reminding them of what they cannot do and why. They support their team by encouraging and allowing for innovation to overcome business obstacles. They create a solution-based team who proactively try new things without worrying about making a mistake. Great retail leaders nurture, harness, and mobilize the creativity of their team members.

They Make Time For Their Team
Truly supportive leaders are available and accessible. They build time into their day to be involved with their team members. They are not too busy with email, meetings or phone calls to be available. They understand that their job is to support the success of their employees and that is done through being a presence and a resource for them…always.


With 38% of employees believing their boss to be truly “horrible” it is beneficial for us to step back and assess our style from time to time. Retail is fast-paced and we can get lost in the minutiae of a task, an assignment, a policy, and/or procedure that pulls our focus away from our most important function and that is to be a truly engaging, supportive and energizing leader to our team members, coworkers, and colleagues and a high-value member of your retail organization.