Dear Diary: 3 Bossology Truths

I can tell you one thing for certain, I was not cut from the boss cloth. But it has taken me quite a while to understand and shift my perspective into wearing the employer hat. I am, or was that person who acted on the immediate assumption that I was correct, sometimes later to realize that i was wrong, blind, naïve–whatever. And sometimes, only to realize that I was right, but the only person in the room with all the information to draw that conclusion. Moments of enlightenment were often a realization leading to the resolution: shift or stay my choice. And most times, right or wrong that realization lead to a lonley place, and frankly, deeply sucked.

To come clean, I hate the word boss. I see the benefit of the pecking order, but I do not like enforcing one. I like the ideology of the round table. I like giving a person a challenge and an opportunity. I live for when it works. I loathe the necessary actions when it does not. Mostly because I understand that we, my employed and I, will approach the same situation with very different perspectives, and while I understand an employee’s perspective, I also know they have no basis to understand the boss’ perspective and responsibility to a bigger picture. Some of them will get it later. Some will never. This is the plight of a boss. I still struggle to make peace with that. There is an art to this role. I am fortunate to have the opportunity to master it. I hope I do someday.

Fellow leaders in the workplace, this is for you. A truth cocktail with a splash of humor. Those who aren’t there yet, please take my advice before you listen to that offended inner voice, and feel the need to stand defiant–certainly blighted. Have some perspective: a) less of what you think is about you is actually about you; and b) even if it is, so what? Learn something for when you are boss. Trust me, wearing the pants of the office isn’t always the bed of roses you think is will be.

Bossology Truth No. 1
Cliches are founded in reality

You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink.
{  Boss
  }
Here is the information / aka water.
Here is an explanation / how to drink the water.
Here are resources you can use / directions to the water
Here is the due date / how long you have to drink the water
Do you understand the assignment? / know where the water is?
{ employee  }
Yes. And I am very excited about the opportunity / thirsty.

…due date…

{  Boss  }
How was the water?
{ employee  }
Great. Really good. Actually I wasn’t sure exactly where the water was so I started making a list of where I thought the water might be but I didn’t make any decisions about actually finding the water. I also thought you would be better at finding the water and actually drinking it. I thought you maybe should bring me some water first. Then I will have a better idea of what the water tastes like, and if I should actually go get the water for myself. I am definitely thirsty though. Could I have a sip of your water?

Bossology Truth No. 2
A lack of acceptance of reality on your part
does not constitute a need of further explanation on my part.

This one was hard for me. To be transparent, it still is. I always want to explain myself for 2 reasons. One, I have usually thought, rethought, ironed out, changed perspective–just to be sure–and re-analyzed most decisions I make. Its a disease, really. If I enforce a decision, I guarantee that is the case. I’m not claiming to have made the best, right decisions, but I am claiming consideration and usually diligent research before enforcing it. The second, is I simply like to be liked. Which is been my Achilles heel more than once. So I am learning. Trying not to swing too far the other direction, which I am confident I will be accused of–an disliked for.


Bossology Truth No. 3
What you think I should know I probably don’t know. What you don’t want me to know I most likely know. What you think I should notice I have most certainly ignored. What you thought I didn’t notice I have noted in your employee file.

The amount of work-related information the boss has to mentally and physically file about each employee, situation, project and opportunity is mind numbing. I have seen the look of astonishment when news is delivered, good or bad, and I have a less than anticipated reaction. If you have been on the receiving end of that un-awed look–accept my sincere apologies now. I probably already knew, had chosen not to know, couldn’t tell you I knew, or wished I didn’t know and too far into the process of problem solving to discuss said news. But if the news was current-event related or about the latest episode of the favored TV show–I really was genuinely clueless.


Are you a boss? I would love to hear from you. Are you finding humor among the stress? What are you learning?

xx,

h

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