What do Bosses Really Want in Their Direct Reports?

I think this really depends on the kind of organization you work in, and what kind of boss you work for. If you work for a humane, progressive organization, and your boss has high emotional intelligence, then s/he probably wants you to behave like a human being, complete with a unique personality, and emotions. If, on the other hand, you work for a hard-nosed, ‘beat them into submission’ kind of boss, then s/he would probably like you to behave like some kind of automaton or ‘human-doing,’ checking your emotions at the door.

I think the more enlightened boss would like direct reports who are willing and able to give and receive feedback effectively. This type of boss would be looking for employees who are passionate about what they do, are highly engaged in their work, and willing to ‘go the extra mile’ when necessary. The enlightened boss would like her employees to be willing to risk making mistakes in the service of creativity, with the confidence to speak freely about their ideas.

The un-evolved boss would probably prefer employees who never question his authority and ‘keep their noses to the grindstone! I believe this type of boss would probably prefer an insecure employee who is willing to accept shame and blame for mistakes, even if that employee hadn’t made them. A paranoid personality would work even better for this type of boss because the employee would be fearful at work, always thinking someone was out to get her. A co-dependent personality would also work well for this type of boss because the employee wouldn’t ask for anything, and would be willing to do whatever was asked of him, whether it was appropriate or not.


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