The best bosses serve as mentors or teachers for their team, and they are experts in their field. Image Credit: Pexels/Jonathan Borba

We all know the traits that go into making a horrible boss: they take all the credit, undermine staff, refuse to communicate, and make it difficult for employees to work or get ahead in their careers. But what about the opposite – what qualities determine the best boss?

Click start to play today’s Word Search, where you can spot all kinds of bosses – from the “emperor” of a domain to the “principal” of a school.

All great bosses have some universal traits, according to a 2019 study published by the Germany-based Institute of Labour Economics. The study measured daily productivity for 23,878 workers in a large service-based company, and assessed their relationship with 1,940 bosses over a four-year period.

The first trait researchers found, is that good bosses are excellent teachers or mentors. According to the study, under a good boss, a worker retains 25 per cent of any performance gains for the next year of employment. The implication is that their boss has trained them to do their job better, or has motivated them so that they permanently work harder and aspire to do well.

Another characteristic of good bosses is that they are experts in their field of work. In a 2011 study published in the Netherlands-based Journal of Economic Behaviour and Organisation, researchers found that the best managers are the ones who had already mastered the skills of their trade before they became bosses. As a result, they knew how to be top performers, and they were able to teach others to do the same.

The effect of having a good manager is tremendous for a team, and subsequently, the entire organisation. The study found that the average boss adds about 1.75 times as much output as the average worker. And replacing a boss who is in the lower 10th percentile of “boss quality” with one who is in the 90th percentile, increases a team’s total output by the same amount as adding one whole worker to a nine-member team.

Moreover, if you have a good boss, it gives you a reason to stay – workers assigned to better bosses are more likely to remain with the same organisation for longer, researchers found. And it’s the same the other way around – the worst bosses (in the lowest 10 per cent) are twice as likely to separate from the firm than bosses in the top 90 per cent of the distribution.

It’s clear that the effect of good managers in a company has remarkable effects on productivity, morale and worker retention.

What great traits does your boss have? Play today’s Word Search and tell us at