Does the thought of working for the boss from hell frighten you? Perhaps you’ve already met that dismal fate and are considering a change. Or maybe you made the change and have sworn off bad bosses forever.

Good move. Now where do you find the good bosses? As you look and ask around, do your research, ask the right interview questions, and have absolute certainty before signing your offer letter that the person you report to aspires to the servant leadership model, and the leadership philosophy of your new company is to value employees and put people ahead of profits.

To erase any doubt, investigate whether your future bosses display the following traits to boldly lead you and your new company.

1. They have their listening skills down to an art-form.

Effective communication isn’t just about talking; leaders who master the art of listening do it intuitively by asking questions with the other person’s needs in mind. It is having the ability to understand what’s happening on the other side of the fence. Peter Drucker once said, “The most important thing in communication is hearing what isn’t said.” By putting the focus on others with active listening, these leaders build trust with their tribe and engagement soars.

2. They coach others to success.

Coaching is a leadership competency required of today’s leaders in the most progressive companies. They dedicate time to provide personal coaching and mentoring that are aligned with job purpose, performance measures, and fulfilling the organizational mission. People, especially Millennials, want to gravitate to leaders who will coach them to success.

3. They grow their people.

You’ll find a high commitment in management to work together with their employees to identify their talents and strengths for the best job fit so that they can reach their potential. These organizations champion a “learning spirit,” sending a clear message that “growing our people is one of our highest priorities.”

4. They are open and transparent communicators.

A clear example of this practice is modeled by the culture at The Container Store, ranked No. 93 on Fortune‘s annual list of “100 Best Companies to Work For.” As part of its foundation principles, leaders there strive for every employee to know absolutely everything. While this can be a daunting undertaking for any company, The Container Store’s leadership team firmly acknowledge the power behind this principle with this key statement: “Nothing makes someone feel more a part of a team than knowing everything has been communicated to them. We know that some information we share could fall into competitors’ hands, but the advantages far outweigh the risks.”

5. They use compassionate management to drive results.

In a selfless relationship where a leader pours into and cares for other people, compassion shows up the moment suffering and hardship occurs on the part of an employee. While we’re more familiar with empathy — feeling what another person feels and putting yourself in that person’s shoes — compassion is more objectively defined as “walking a mile in another person’s shoes.” It’s the capacity in ethical leaders to respond in a time of need by doing everything in their power to remove the pain and alleviate the suffering of their employees. The research is also clear: In organizations characterized by higher levels of compassion and forgiveness, it was found that performance, innovation, customer retention, profitability, and quality all increase dramatically, while employee turnover decreases as a result.

Parting thoughts.

Leaders of the future invested in relationships and putting their employees first understand that such attributes and virtuous behaviors can have a drastic difference in how work is conducted. The question is, are companies committed to investing in the development of their future leaders? Not just in terms of dollars, but in time, energy, resources, and a change in belief system and mindset? Time will tell.

Originally published at

As founder of Leadership from the Core, Marcel Schwantes is a leading expert in helping companies develop exceptional servant leadership cultures where employees thrive and businesses flourish. He is an entrepreneur, executive coach, keynote speaker and syndicated columnist. Follow him on LinkedIn and Twitter.