Friday, April 29, 2011

Wayne's Rules for Being a Great Boss

You are about to unlock the keys to being the best boss in the world. For free! That's right, you read that correctly. No, you can't buy these on TV. You don't have to buy the book or the DVD. Yes, they really are free. Best part? There's only FOUR of them. Easy-peasy-lemon-squeezy. There is one catch, however. You must practice them and believe them, because I've got news for you -- they work.

I've had a few bosses in my day. Been a boss. too. What happens too often on our capitalistic, money and success oriented society (oops, starting to get a little preachy) is that if we are fortunate enough to make our way up whatever corporate ladder we happen to be climbing, we start to believe our hype. We start to believe that we actually deserve the praises and the raises. We start thinking that we are entitled to people carrying out our directions because, somehow, we have been anointed as "in charge."

I've got news for you, regardless of your training or your experience or your education, there are others that can do your job. Many others. I know, I know, you don't want to hear that. In fact, you may decide I'm so "full of it" that you stop reading this and surf on over to the Huffington Post or your fantasy football league. That's okay, I'll take that chance. A warning: As you read these, you WILL say to yourself, "That's not me," or "I don't do that." You do. You really do. If you are a boss, you break at least two of the rules below and probably more. Admit it, face yourself and agree to change your bad habits. You, and your staff, will feel better for it. Oh, yeah, and you'll all be more productive.

Okay, here we go. The four rules that will make you a GREAT BOSS.

#1 - Stop with the meetings. You have too many. Most meetings are totally non-productive, unorganized and serve only to piss off your staff for taking them away from their actual work. Your meetings are mostly your attempt to get yourself organized. Stop it right now. Meetings are not, or shouldn't be, a place for you to impress your staff with your authority and ability to move around the room with graceful aplomb by asking everyone for updates or status reports that either you already know about or can be shared in another way.

#2 - Don't use the big "Boss Words." You know what they are: "Accountability" and "Responsibility." Besides you are probably using them incorrectly anyway. When your staff hears you use these words, all they really understand is that you are going to blame them if something goes wrong. Responsibility can be shared, accountability cannot. If you create an environment of trust and respect where hard work and collaboration is encouraged and allowed to grow, those words will never have to come out of your mouth.

#3 - Refrain from the easy hires. Don't hire (or keep) someone just because they seem to agree with you on everything. Ass-kissers can't be trusted. You've got the job already. YOU are the boss. Hire people that can contribute something NEW to your staff, department or business. Hire a rebel. (NOTE: I didn't say hire an idiot.) Sure, It might be uncomfortable for a while. You might have to learn how to deal with a new way of looking at things. You can handle it.

#4 - Be willing to learn from your staff. You are not omnipotent. You don't know everything.  As much as you would like to believe you are better than everyone else because you are their supervisor, it just ain't true. You staff is smart. They do actually care about what they do 8 or 10 hours a day. Believe it or not, they probably know more about certain aspects of the business than you. Watch Undercover Boss sometime then tell me bosses know everything.  Oh, here's the kicker: You may think listening to your staff -- actually LISTENING and considering their input -- makes you look weak or stupid or unqualified. It doesn't.
There you go. Now you are on your own. Oh, and these rules work in any business. Whether your a movie director or a CEO of a widget factory. Let me know they work out for you.

Next Rant: Don't Blame the Actor. This is where I spout off about what makes makes a movie good or bad and why most critics don't know what they are talking about.