be a bossSo you’re now a ‘Boss’ to someone. Congratulations! It promises to be an interesting and no doubt challenging journey and there are a few things that you should be aware of as you assume this new responsibility.

Before you start, stop…and think. Stop and think about the kind of ‘boss’ you want to be. How is it that you hope to influence people and challenge them to be the best they can be? How would like to be remembered, spoken about or regarded? What can you take from the best bosses you have had in getting to this point and what is it that you need to avoid and ensure you don’t mimic about the worse bosses you have encountered?

It isn’t the end but rather only the beginning. You must have done something right – most likely many things right, to have got to this point, so again congratulations. However, if you think you have arrived you will soon learn that this represents just another starting point. So what is it you need to learn in order to succeed in this position? From who or from what source can you learn what it is you need to learn? What might you need to unlearn in order to make this position a success? How will you go about doing this (unlearning)?

It is not about you, it is about your people. Who is in your team? What are their needs and how will you go about getting the best out of those fortunate enough to be in your team? Are there any legacy issues to which you need pay attention? Connecting with your people is fundamental to building a cohesive and effective team. They will need to know their role, what it is you expect of them, how you will measure progress and what will be the consequences of not getting to wherever it is you need to get to. These are fundamentals that need to be discussed and don’t assume such matters are all understood or have been clarified. They need to hear it from you!

What you do is more important than what you say. Model the behaviour that you wish to see in your team. Be loyal, believe in their potential, and don’t talk behind their back to anyone – unless of course it is to say nice things and then go and tell them to their face what it is you have told someone else. What insecurities do you bring into this position and how might these play out in how you act, what you say…and don’t say? You lead out of who you are – remember that and allow it to motivate the right behaviour as you go about the important task of being the boss

You work for them, not the other way around. I know this doesn’t seem to be how ‘things work’ but smart bosses understand that they serve those on their team – not the other way round. Your role is to help your people over-achieve and when they do, feel as though they have done it on their own. I know that doesn’t sound very fair but don’t worry, the people who really matter will know what your role has been and appreciate you all the more for it. Make sure your team get the headlines, the limelight and capture the applause. It takes a ‘big boss’ to allow this to happen. Be such a Boss.

Relationship, relationship, relationship. We all work better for someone we respect, someone who is fair and someone with whom we have a good relationship. The quality of relationship between you and your people will ultimately count for more that if you simply drive them to succeed and merely see them as a means to an end. You want them to ‘go to war for you’; you want a team with whom you can go to war. Wars will happen, of this you can be sure!

‘Boss’ is the last title to use. Mentor, coach, friend, role model are just some of the ‘titles’ that need to precede that of ‘Boss’. Of course this isn’t to say that you don’t set boundaries, clarify consequences, confront non-performance, say what needs to be said and all tackle the many thankless tasks that come with the ‘boss territory’. Work to understand what makes people ‘tick’ and then work smartly. ‘What makes ‘you tick?’ might be a good place to start in thinking about what makes your people tick – the chances are it won’t be very different.

Enjoy the journey and make sure it is one in which you never stop learning. The best way to ensure that is to develop reliable feedback that may or may not be the formal feedback loops you have entrenched within the company. Feedback is the lifeblood of any boss intent on growing, being better and who wishes to make a difference.

Go now, and be such a Boss!


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