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How to find a boss you want to work for

Do your homework to find a manager who will inspire you.

How to find a boss you want to work for

It’s a saying that’s often heard: People don’t leave jobs; they leave managers. And many people are unsatisfied with how good their manager is at his or her job, according to a new Monster poll that found a whopping 84 percent of respondents said they think they could do a better job than their bosses.

If that sounds like you, maybe it’s time to start looking for a boss whose leadership you can respect. Here’s some advice on how to find a boss you want to work for.

Research prospective employers’ values

Office culture is influenced by management styles, and vice versa, says Kristy Willis, a senior vice president at Adecco Staffing U.S. “If you find a company is more buttoned up in terms of environment, managers will likely be the same way. On the other hand, if a company embraces differences and a balance between work and home, managers might be more casual when interacting, less hierarchical and much more flexible.”

Seek out informational interviews

As you look at your professional and personal networks, identify people who have similar interests and an advanced knowledge of the career path you want to follow, says Kenneth L. Johnson, president of East Coast Executives. Then ask them to coffee or lunch, and ask their advice about what it takes to get ahead. (Just don’t ask for a job directly — that’s not what informational interviews are about, and people can get peeved by the perceived bait and switch.)

Use job interview questions wisely

In your job interviews, use the chance to ask your own questions to find out more about the hiring manager, says career coach Jaime Pfeffer: “What is your turnover rate for employees managed? Have you ever fired someone and, if so, why? Describe how you see the person who gets this job spending a typical day. What would make a superstar employee?” Asking these types of questions can give you valuable insight into the person’s management style.

Ask for examples

When you’re asking questions in your interview, make sure you’re getting good answers, says IT professional Todd Haffner. “If the boss doesn't give you an example, you could ask, 'Can you give me an example just so I better understand how we would relate with each other?'” After you ask this question, watch the body language that comes with the answer. “Many bosses don't like to be challenged, and you have just challenged them.”

Become the boss

If you think you could do a better job than your current boss, then find ways to do so, says Marcie Mueller, practice leader of talent development at IMPACT Group. “Take on more! Not just within your team, but identify cross-department and career-growth opportunities.” Talk to HR about developing a career plan and see if you can work your way into a new position.