7 Things You Should Say to a Good Boss

Great followers make great leaders

6 min readJun 21, 2021


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“Noooooooo! What are you doing?” the young public relations Lieutenant screamed as he ran towards me.

“I thought if I told the helicopters to fly low and directly over us it would be a great shot for the news crew!” I said.

Later that day as I stood at attention in front of the commanding officer recounting the event he laughed a little and said “OK, I see you were trying to do a good thing for us. Good initiative.”

I had just caused a public relations issue as a Marine when a local Filipino news crew was doing a story on joint military exercises disturbing the tranquility and peace in a certain area of the island we were on.

I’d just given them the ultimate money shot as two huge CH-53 Helicopters flew directly over us in a tornado explosion of dust, wind, and debris.

My boss asked me why I did what I did. I said I thought the news crew was doing a story on the Filipino/U.S. cooperation and I wanted to give them some great shots to improve their story. He respected that — he even laughed it off. That’s how good bosses are. They just want to hear why you decided to do something whether it worked or not. If your “why” is well-intentioned and thought out honestly, even if you mess up, they can respect that — then help you correct it for next time.

I’ve practiced and studied leadership for 25 years in military, corporate, and volunteer positions. Here are a few things I’ve seen that good bosses want to hear.

If you have a bad boss, maybe they don’t want to hear it as bad bosses are often threatened by good followership. But you should still say them as good leaders/followers do what is right regardless of who is around them.

#1. “I’ll Handle It”

A good leader delegates and trusts subordinates so they value when people can get things done without having to always spell it out for them.

They know this can lead to mistakes but they know that mistakes are usually less cost than the benefit of increased self-sufficiency in the team.

Good bosses appreciate when someone tells them “I’ll handle it” — then gets it done…