Being a boss - stereotypes
Today, I wanted to write about... well... being a boss. And actually about what people think being a boss is and what I think it should be.
Can you really get away with everything?
I would go for a beer with my friends in the middle of a week. And when it's time to go home, so I could get up well rested, I am trying to leave. From time to time, I would hear "Well, why don't you stay? You are a boss, so you can be late tomorrow". Of course, I can. I am a boss. I can do whatever I can. But every action has consequences. My feeling is that, the boss should be an example. If I require people to be in the office between hour X and hour Y - I should be there, too. Of course, if there is anything important I have to do and that would make me be late - that's fine. But, I would never lie to them about why I am late. So if it was going to be because I wanted to have another beer - well, I want to be more than that. I want to treat others the same way I would like to be treated. If I am ever going to spend less time working or put less effort into work, it's not going to be based on random events. It's going to be a conscious decision that's going to be communicated upfront.
Also, being a boss does not mean that you can be mean to people. Well, again, you can do anything you want, but always have consequences in mind. You work with people. If you want to be respected or you want your team respect each other - respect them. There is no other way. You are the boss. It's your company. And your action should be an example to every single person that works for you. Does not matter if it's a person who takes trash out of the office or your most senior manager. You are either respectful or you are a jerk. The choice is yours.
You have to be beyond that. Everyone has the right to have a worse day. But the higher in the hierarchy you are, the more mature you have to be. The less you can let your emotions affect how you treat other people. If you believe someone is doing a horrible job, you give him a chance to improve. If he improves - great. If he doesn't - you make a hard decision. You either accept him or fire him. There is no gray area in the middle where you keep someone on the team, but you use every single chance to say something mean about that person. You cannot afford having an attitude about people that work for you. Period. If you do have an attitude, you can either strongly discourage that person or others, but you can also ruin everything good in the company.
You can never explain yourself in front of your employees. O'rly?
I have heard that SO MANY times. Never explain yourself. You can do anything you want. It's your right. You are the boss. However, to me, the real problem is not that you explain things to your employees. And it does not matter if it's explaining why we do things the way we do, explaining them why you did something that you shouldn't have done. It really does not. The real problem is when you HAVE TO explain yourself. If someone challenges you for a sake of challening you. Or just tries to make your life harder. Or basically... puts you on the spot. That's when you failed. And it's not them - it's you. You are the one who builds the team. If you invited mean people to your life / your company - that's your fault.
And I am not saying that you HAVE TO explain everything to your employees. I am just saying that it may actually be good thing to do. As long as it's not because people question your decisions, it's more than fine.
Everything has to be done your way. Right?
No. The most challening thing is to let people make decisions. I hire developers. And I am a developer myself. I think it is very important to admit that one of your employees is actually better than you. Or, more than one. You need to trust them. If you are really the best developer in your company, why the heck are you trying to run a business? You should code!
Also, don't be afraid to give people credit. Even if they came up with ideas that you've come up long time ago. It does not matter who was the first person. It really does not. Appreciate people and give them credit. Because that's the only way to encourage them to actually bringing ideas to you and to have everyone in the company benefit from them.
It's not (only) a privilege. It's a responsibility
I am not trying to pretend that being a boss has a lot of perks. It's a great thing and I cannot imagine doing anything else.
However, there are moments when there is nobody to appreciate you. You need to be confident that what you are doing is the right thing. And sometimes, you have to give credit to other people even if you were the huge part of the success. You need to know you are a part of it. And let people feel appreciated.
So after all, it's a GREAT RESPONSIBILITY. And there are things that you could get advantage of, but if you want to build something meaningful, you will never do.