That's the question Matthew Yglesias asks in a new Slate article. The impetus for the question is a working paper from Stanford University and University of Utah researchers called "The Value of Bosses" detailing research into supervisors at an unnamed company.
The researchers reached several conclusions, the most interesting of which is that much of the value of a good supervisor persists even after a worker switches bosses — that is, that a supervisor's greatest value comes from teaching effective work methods.
The paper also argues that pairing the best workers with the best supervisors, rather than having the best bosses mentor weaker workers, leads to increased productivity. Yglesias' article is a good entry point into a study that could have major implications for workplaces that implement its findings.
What makes a great boss to you? What did your best supervisors bring to the table?