What makes a workplace (part 3)
- Protect you from politics and other stuff
- Set appropriate boundaries
- Honest and courageous
As Rob said, I want my manager to "go into bat for me". They should be my advocate, saying "Dave, what can I do to help you do your job?". They're off dealing with all the other stuff so that you can get on with your job.
Likewise I think you want a manager that keeps you informed of things that are relevant, so that you aren't left out of the loop.
I mention "Honesty and courage" in that they need to have the guts to tell the "big" bosses the truth. The last thing you need is the CEO being told "everything is fine, yes we'll make the deadline" if that's not correct – everyone loses when that happens.