This isn't scientific, but for the 20 years or so I've been reporting on financial news, I have uncovered some common rules to separate the good bosses from the bad ones.
Here now, are ways for you to identify a potential crook in the corner office. Ask yourself these questions:
One: How does boss act around little people?
Does he acknowledge them, talk to them, smile at them? If he doesn't — if he just plows past them — that should tell you something. He doesn't care.
Two: What kind of hours does the boss work?
Any boss worth his salt puts in a lot of time at the mine. You say he should, because he gets paid for it. But many don't. Make sure he's toiling away.
Three: Does the boss have a good handle on all areas of business?
A good one does. And it's easy to find out — talk to your division head. Has the boss talked to him? Jack Welch was notorious for questioning even low-rung managers on every facet of their area. You want a guy like that.
Four: Does the boss smile a lot?
Smilers make other people smile and they also make other people feel good. Don't get me wrong, smilers can be ruthless and some of them might be smiling for the wrong reason, but I'd still prefer my boss challenging me with humor than bashing me with a stick.
Five: Do the boss' peers admire him?
You notice that I didn't say "like" him? Really great bosses are envied, not loved. That doesn't matter. Here's what does: others "imitating" his success. In business, as in life, it still is the sincerest form of flattery.
So there you have it. My five rules for picking out a dazzler from a dud in the corporate world. A boss exhibiting any one of these traits is good. Any two, even better. But the guy who's talking to peons, with a smile, while working a long day and knowing all details of his business and inspiring envy in his competitors? That guy's a gem.
Unfortunately, that guy is also, a rarity.
What do you think? Send your comments to: firstname.lastname@example.org. And watch Neil Cavuto's Common Sense weekdays at 4 p.m. ET on Your World w/Cavuto.