I’ve had good bosses and bad bosses.
I’ve been a good boss and bad boss at various stages of my life.
And you can be a good or bad boss while being firm, downright mean and while having unreasonable expectations
And you can be a good or bad boss being nice, really friendly, and having medium expectations.
What you do need is competence in your job, knowledge of what your employee’s job is, and, MOST IMPORTANTLY, a lack of insecurity in knowing you know your job and not being threatened by subordinates.
I was a poor boss as a young law firm partner because – even though I was a top grad from a top school, a hard worker, and knew my stuff – I was threatened by the new kids who were also top grads, hard workers, and who knew their stuff (in an new kid sort of way).
I’m not talking about bravado – false courage, false fronts.
I mean really secure in knowing you know what is going on. When a boss is secure, he (or she) helps subordinates succeed
I’m gruff, borderline autistic, bearded, tall, and generally not one for small talk. I have been told by many people they are (or someone else is) terrified of me. I don’t socialize with the other lawyers and tend to hang out (when there are mandatory social events) with long time staff members.
I have also been told, by many of the same people, that they learned how to be a lawyer from me and really like me.