3 Boss’s Balancing Acts

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Walk into a room filled with small children in Halloween costumes and they will swarm you. One runs right into your path to get you to look at her and her costume. Another child tugs at your hand and others stand back a bit, shouting, “Look at me!!”

If you’re a boss, someone officially responsible for the performance of a group, you have jobs that are like that. They clamor for attention. You have to choose where to focus and whatever you choose, you ignore something else for the moment.

What’s important varies some from job to job, but if you’re a boss anywhere you’ve got at least three key balancing acts to perform. They’re pairs of jobs. You can’t neglect any of them, but you can’t do them all at once either.

Accomplish the mission and care for the people

You’re responsible for the performance of the group. But you’re also responsible for caring for the people on your team. Some days it’s all hands on deck to get the job done. Some days you have time for building relationships and helping people grow and develop and succeed. Both jobs are important.

Today’s job and tomorrow’s job

Today’s work is important, but part of your job is preparing the team and the team members to be successful tomorrow. Both jobs are important.

Productivity and learning

If productivity was all that mattered, you could assign people to do what they do well and leave it at that. But part of your job is to develop the abilities of the team and team members. Both jobs are important.

Nobody said it would be easy

This is tough stuff. Every minute of every day you have to make decisions about what to concentrate on and how to balance the trade-offs. You have to get it all done, but not all at once. So, take a deep breath and dive into the fray.

Thanks for the inspiration

Michael Wade’s post, “Your Best Work May Not Be Noticed” about his work as a consultant started me thinking about the trade-offs a working boss has to make every day.

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