7 Tips to Being a Boss!
1. BE A BOSS, NOT BOSSY
You don’t have to buy into traditional stereotypes of a suited and booted boss who everyone is afraid to make jokes with. Dance the line of banter, build open relationships with your team, but cultivate a culture of respect where hard work prevails and people are held to account. You don’t need to boss people about to get results. Believe in your words, be clear in your instruction and be as explicit as you can be about the rewards, or consequences of not completing set tasks. Remember, no-one wants to disappoint you. So start with compassion.
2. COMMAND RESPECT, DON’T DEMAND IT
Give respect as much as you respect it to be given to you. Your team are equal to you, you may be at the top, but if the bottom falls through you are back to square one. The more respectful you are in your communication; from the cleaner to the chair of the board, the more your organizational culture will represent values of respect. You shouldn’t be requesting or asserting respect from others, it should come from a place of giving. Command it; don’t demand it.
2. LISTEN MORE THAN YOU TALK
People love the sound of their own voice. FACT. Be choosy in your words – treat them as precious. An old chinese proverb states we were given two ears and one mouth because we should listen more than we talk. Really active listening gives you clues and information to be able to draw from, so don’t listen to reply, listen to understand. Speak less but say more.
3. SEPARATE LEADER FROM MANAGER
A leader and a manager are two different roles, skillsets and require different characteristics. Be clear about when you are galvanizing a group to get behind a vision and when you’re ensuring that people are on task and will complete them on time to a high quality. It is possible to be both and do both, but recognize the difference. It will help you to be a stronger leader and a more effective manager. Find your own style for each and own it.
4. DON’T MICROMANAGE
Have trust. Seriously, what’s the point in having a team if you don’t trust them? When setting tasks or giving instruction, check back their understanding immediately. Make sure they have the right resources (or access to resources) and the right capabilities or skills to get the work done. If they don’t, ask them for the solution to solve that (where can you find the resource? Who has the right skills you can get to help you?). Finally agree a mutually convenient deadline and both agree a ‘check in time’. This avoids unmet unexpectations and disappointments but also avoids midnight text messages asking where your work is! Micromanaging is not efficient and is demoralizing. Avoid at all costs!
5. LESS HIERARCHY, MORE NETWORK
Avoid bureaucracy by keeping as flatter structure as your industry or business can manage. Have clear lines of command/reporting and communication and above all, cluster skill groups or peers to be able to solve problems or create solutions collaboratively. Improve agility by empowering your team to make decisions for themselves. Use your network to your advantage and watch your business win.
6. BELIEVE IN YOUR OWN AUTHORITY
If you don’t believe in yourself, who will?! You are the boss for a reason. Do whatever life hacks make you feel more confident in your authority – dress the part, carry a briefcase, chair the meeting, but ultimately the confidence in your own authority will only be accepted by the majority if it comes from the inside. Believe in your abilities, and be aware of your flaws. People will respect you for it.
7. EVERYONE IS AN EXPERT
Remember, you are the boss, but that doesn’t make you God. You aren’t the only font of knowledge, and if you believe that then you should definitely be working alone! Everyone is an expert in something – even if it’s themselves. Ask them to teach you how to manage them. Ask them to tell you what motivates them, what devalues them, what makes them feel rewarded. If they don’t know, you’ve asked the right questions to be able to explore a better working relationship together. The more you know what you want and need, and equally what your team wants and needs, the more effective your relationships (and ultimately your business) will be.