What’s a boss?
A boss is someone who is responsible for the performance of a group. That group might be a six person team or a 300,000 person company. What makes you a boss is that your performance is evaluated based on the performance of that team.
Great bosses are part of teams that have high productivity and high morale. Bad bosses destroy morale and drive away talent. Over time their negative impact overwhelms whatever numbers they may generate.
You’ll do better as a boss if you enjoy helping other people succeed. You’ll do better if you’re comfortable with making decisions and willing to have tough conversations with others about performance and behavior. And you have a lot of things to pay attention to.
When you’re a boss you have two objectives
Every day when you go to work, you’ve got two objectives. One or the other may be more important on any given day. But over time you have to achieve both.
Accomplish the mission
Your team has to get the job done. Your part of that is to do everything you can to make it possible. Remove obstacles and don’t be one yourself. Facilitate good work.
Care for the people
You’re the one responsible for keeping your people safe. It’s your job to help them succeed today and also tomorrow.
When you’re a boss you have to consider two time frames
You have to pay attention to the present and the future as you achieve your objectives. You must get today’s job done, but you also need to do things that build team and individual capacity to succeed in the future.
When you’re a boss you have three kinds of work
Forget the nonsense that some people are leaders and others are managers. If you’re a boss you have to lead and manage and supervise too. They’re different kinds of work.
Leadership work is about setting the direction and demonstrating the values. You can’t take a day off either. You must do your leadership work all day every day. Set the example because people are paying attention. Communicate the mission and other key messages.
Management work is about groups and processes and priorities. You’ll hold meetings and schedule activities and make sure the administrative laundry gets done.
Supervision work is the people part of the job. It’s all about helping team members do a good job today and a better job tomorrow.
Boss’s Bottom Line
Being a good boss is hard work. You life is a daily bowl of trade-offs and challenges. But if it’s for you it can be the most rewarding work in the world.