When I began my business journey years ago, no one gave me a boss’s how-to manual. I learned my lessons the hard way through trial and error. And admittedly, in the beginning, I wasn’t a very good boss. But, I was fortunate to work for and learn from a few great bosses.
Maybe you’re currently working for a great boss or you’ve worked for one in the past. Think about what they did to earn your respect … why you were proud to call them your boss. Did you know that the word “boss” was first used over 200 years ago as a title of respect for a person in charge?
It’s unfortunate that today, the word boss has so many negative connotations. We know from exit interviews, that employees don’t quit working for companies, they quit working for not-so-great bosses. In fact, the Gallup Organization’s Annual survey of American workers reveals that only a quarter of the workforce is actively-engaged at work. To remain competitive, we must do better. We need Great Bosses now more than ever.
There are four truths that you must embrace to be a great boss. If you don’t embrace them, no amount of reading, teaching, coaching or effort will ever make you great.
Truth 1. Being a great boss can be simple. There have been thousands of books written on leadership and management. They can be confusing, contradictory and tie you up in knots with theory and complexity. The truth is, if you consistently apply The Five Leadership Practices and The Five Management Practices you will be a great boss. It’s that simple!
Truth 2: Your style does not have to change. It doesn’t matter if you’re nice or tough, introverted or extroverted, charismatic or reserved. Just be yourself. When you are authentic, you are more believable and you will build trust. Don’t be intimidated by high-profile leaders who have lots of charm or worry that you’ll never measure up to their larger-than-life personalities. You don’t have to change your style. Be genuine, be open and honest.
Truth 3: You must genuinely care about your people. You can’t fake it. There’s an old saying: people don’t care what you know until they know that you care. You could still apply the Five Leadership Practices and Five Management Practices and you’d be pretty good. But, if you don’t care about your people, you’ll never be great. It’s like trying to be a great parent but not really caring about your kids.
Truth 4: You must want to be great. There’s no middle ground here. You must genuinely desire to become a great boss. That means being willing to invest the time necessary to continuously improve yourself. For your business to grow, you must grow. If you don’t want to put in the effort, none of what you learn will stick.
Do you embrace these 4 Truths? If so, welcome to the journey to become truly GREAT. In our next session, we’ll define Leadership and Management – what makes each different but equally important.