The top 5 traits of inspiring leaders

Leslie Knope of NBC's 'Parks and Recreation' is, by most standards, a great boss.
NBCUniversal Media

Most workers want to have, or be, a great boss. But what exactly makes a boss great?

Dale Carnegie Training, the workplace development organization founded by bestselling author Dale Carnegie of the iconic book How to Win Friends and Influence People, conducted a poll to find out.

The survey of 3,100 workers, ranging from junior employees to CEOs, found a consensus. For U.S. workers, inspiring bosses share five traits. A great boss:

5. Allows employees to save face in difficult situations

Most people know when they've made a mistake, and no one likes to be humiliated.

Some 60 percent of U.S. respondents say that great bosses give employees who have made a mistake or feel embarrassed the chance to recover and do better moving forward.

4. Acknowledges his or her own shortfalls before criticizing

Nobody's perfect, and employees like bosses who admit that they themselves are not perfect.

Sixty-eight percent of workers said they are motivated by supervisors who are bold enough to recognize their own shortcomings and who don't jump to criticize others.

3. Recognizes improved performance

When hard work finally does pay off, workers say that receiving a boss's recognition makes a real difference to them.

Some 72 percent of respondents say this is one of the most important traits a boss could have.

2. Gives praise and appreciation

Being called into your supervisor's office shouldn't always be a bad thing.

Great bosses praise and express appreciation for an employee's work, according to 74 percent of respondents.

1. Encourages improvement

A little kindness at work goes a long way. Nearly 80 percent of those polled say that inspiring leaders encourage and help employees improve.

"Effective leaders create an environment that is safe for employees, where they feel accepted and respected," the report says, in summary. "Those leaders listen, value their employees' contribution, and respect their opinions."

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