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If you think you're doing badly, you're probably actually killing it.
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• Leading others can be challenging at times.

• But there are some subtle signs that you're an exceptional boss.

• It all comes down to your listening skills, empathy, and confidence.


It's not always easy being in charge.

Managing others comes with a ton of pressure. And when you're in a management position, it can be difficult to evaluate how you're doing.

Are you striking the right balance between commanding respect and appearing accessible? Are your employees responding well to your style of leadership? Are any of your actions breeding resentment in the office?

Being a good boss is crucial for your organization — a third of employees in one survey revealed that they'd quit a job because of a bad manager, Business Insider reported.

But you can't exactly go wandering around the office begging people to tell you how you're doing. You're better off organizing employee satisfaction surveys and soliciting feedback from your direct reports.

You can also take a look at these other, more subtle signs that you're killing it as the boss:

You don't have obvious favorites

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Playing favorites is a great way to torpedo office morale. If you make it clear that a certain person is the apple of your eye no matter what, then that'll just encourage your other employees to give up on trying to impress you.

You treat your employees like human beings

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Unfortunately, some bosses seem to feel that hurling insults and abuse at people is an effective motivational technique. In most cases, this simply isn't true. If you value your employees as human beings, then you're already a huge step above many managers.

You're willing to try new things

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Good bosses adopt certain methods because they're the best way of doing things — not because they've just fallen into certain habits. The best managers give their employees a little room to experiment and innovate.

You hold everyone accountable ...

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Maintaining accountability is a big part of office morale and encourages workers to act with integrity, leading to an excellent workplace culture.

... including yourself

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Good bosses don't pick a scapegoat or explain away mistakes. In fact, experienced managers admit it when they fail in order to create a workplace that's a safe environment for experimentation.

You give support

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Bosses should build trust with their employees by providing a reasonable amount of support and guidance. Obviously, you don't need to hold anyone's hand, but throwing people into the deep end isn't ideal, either.

You remove obstacles

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Bad bosses throw up roadblocks that make it harder for people to succeed and do their jobs. Great managers should actively work to make the lives of their employees easier.

You're a good coach

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Coaches don't just sit back on the sidelines twiddling their thumbs. They don't run onto the field and start playing, either — unless they're that one scary dad that takes the youth recreational soccer league way too seriously.

Good bosses are like good coaches: They command respect and provide the right blend of praise and constructive criticism to bring out the best in their employees.

You explain yourself

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Good managers don't expect anyone to read their minds. They outline a clear vision and provide their team with the knowledge and tools to achieve it.

You care about challenging your employees

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Bored workers are unhappy workers. The best bosses check in with their workers to ensure that they're being challenged.

You check in with your employees

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You don't pop in to nag people like Bill Lumbergh in "Office Space." You genuinely check in to talk to — not at— your employees in order to find out their goals and worries.

You care about the dreams and goals of your employees

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The best bosses are invested in their employees. That means that they're actively concerned with the professional goals and aspirations of their workers.

You're not nice just for the sake of being nice

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Being too nice of a boss can actually be rather cruel, as Betty Liu points out in a LinkedIn article. Artificially sweet managers heap on undeserved praise, then yank the rug out from under their employees later on.

So don't play nice because you don't like conflict. Be authentic and real with your workers. You'll be doing them a big favor.

You're a good listener

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This is the main reason why introverts make quite good bosses.

Many people have had a manager who loved to talk. Rarer — and infinitely more appreciated — are those bosses who are quality listeners. Good listening skills shows your employees that you're seriously considering their opinions and needs.

You tailor your approach

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Different employees have different needs. "One size fits all" just isn't going to cut it in the workplace. The best bosses are flexible. This allows them to fulfill all sorts of roles in order to better cater to the needs of their workers.

You demand effort, not perfection

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Great leaders demand — and inspire — employees to work hard. They lead by example and give workers the tools they need to succeed through hard work.

Bosses who are too rigid are simply unrealistic. People make mistakes. It happens. If you punish small failures, you'll just stifle innovation, experimentation and proactivity in your office.

You suspect you're an awful leader sometimes

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When Business Insider previously spoke with author Simon Sinek about leadership, je explained that individuals who believe themselves to be excellent leaders are often, in fact, terrible leaders.

Great bosses recognize that authority and rank do not equal leadership abilities. As a result, they are constantly working to improve themselves. These quality bosses might even feel inadequate at times.

However, just the fact that they recognize their own flaws renders them superior to many managers that totally lack self-awareness.

Jacquelyn Smith contributed to a previous version of this article.