College Students Want These 3 Traits In A Boss

By Kylie Exline on September 24, 2016

Many students have a general assumption of what a great boss embodies. We hope that we will get every Game Day off ever, receive plenty of overtime even though we didn’t necessarily work overtime, and that we can show up wearing whatever we desire for the day. However, that is not the way this works.

Bosses are bosses for a reason. They can be stern and amiable, yet also handle crazy situations when the time strikes. You know, a common day jack-of-all-trades.

To discover how you can be the best boss ever for college students, and what students look for, continue reading below.


It may sound like this is super far-fetched, but as college students, we know what we like, or at least have an idea. So if you are the type of boss that wants your employees to like you, then you have some nice things to do.

Now this does not mean that you have to allow them to come in late every single shift, but it also means that you understand if they happen to hit rush hour traffic right as they are leaving campus. We have all been there. This also means that if one of their bucket list bands is coming into town next week (late notice), you allow them to switch with a coworker and not make them feel bad for days to come. How nice of you.

Flexibility also means that you are willing to change, or come to a common compromise. No, I am not saying that the worker has full power and say, but at least some say. They will not be scared to accost you if something goes south, and if they have a recommendation, they will not be afraid to share the ideas with you. The ideal boss is friendly, but not too friendly.


This is a huge appeal for anyone, especially when you are the boss. We are all aware how far understanding can go and when it is in the workplace, it is that much better. I think that many students have the assumption that bosses are always and should be extremely sympathetic, yet that is not the way it should work.

There must be a level of discipline present so that it is still understood that you are the superior. You do not need to go overboard or pounce on the fact every chance you get, but rather make it subtly known. Or at least be slightly friendly if you notice it has been a long day. Basically just be a nice human.

This can be applied on the job if students make a mistake, such as spilling their entire tray on their customer on the first day of the job, or counting back the wrong change. Such simple mistakes can have major consequences, yet with your forgiving attitude, it can appease the situation. (Now I am not saying that this is also applied to someone that always makes these mistakes, because maybe this is just not their destined job.)


There is a difference between being adamant and flexible, so being able to find common ground within the two terms is vital. A great boss does this by being approachable, yet with a serious demeanor. You are sort of like a 50/50.

Being resolute means that you know when to give, and when to hold. If an employee insists they did not steal, yet you have footage that they did, then you need to not go back on your word and instead honor your larceny policies. Plus, it shows that you will not tolerate being stepped on, and identifying your role as the boss.

It may be tough to find the balance given some days you may feel stricter than others; however it is your responsibility and overall duty to in fact be the best boss that you can be. It is probably better if you know for yourself what things you are not willing to change, and what things are negotiable. Be adamant in the way that you make decisions and in telling your employees their amount of say on the job. It goes far.

Being a boss that people like, especially college kids, can be difficult. The truth of the matter is that most students do not want to work, and it is certainly not our first priority given we are in college. But it is the way it goes.

However, to be the best boss that you can be, you should share flexibility, have understanding, and be adamant. To obtain all of these qualities of a boss, be yourself, and if anything, try to be nice. Hold your ground, and the rest should come relatively easy — fingers crossed.

By Kylie Exline

Uloop Writer
Florida State University
Editing, Writing & Media. FSU// Go Noles! Class of 2016.

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