Do You Have What It Takes To Be the Boss?
Transitioning from worker to boss can be a challenge. You may stand out as an employee, but do you have what it takes to become a leader? You can learn how to be a good boss by watching leaders you respect and admire. I can bet you that most effective managers share the same attributes: They’re excellent listeners, cheerleaders, and effective communicators. A good boss should also be able to encourage a diverse group of employees to work together in a way that is mutually beneficial.
When I'm in charge, I prefer to let all team members set goals and timelines. This way, they are empowered to look within themselves to decide how they can contribute and how much time it will take to do so. I have learned that this doesn't work for every personality type, especially for those who are not time-oriented, but it's still my preferred way to managing teams.
So, how can you make sure you meet the criteria for a good leader?
When I take time out of my day to make sure I feel my best, my work life improves drastically. I can think clearly, negotiate fairly (thanks to the mood boost!), and be my best self. So, first and most importantly, you must manage yourself. Part of learning how to be a good boss is learning how to work with people and help them reach their fullest potential. When you’re at your best, you can easily see what your employees need from you in order to be more productive, too.
Take time each day to eat well, exercise and meditate. I personally find it easier to meditate outside. As such I love to wake up early and go outside with a blanket and take 20 minutes to center prior to going into the day. Exercising boosts the production of serotonin in your brain, an awesome little chemical that makes us feel both happy and productive. Exercise and meditation are excellent anxiety busters, which means that you’ll be better equipped to make those tough leadership decisions.
You might have a few misconceptions about what it means to be the boss. If you can cut through these misconceptions and instead, enter the position with few expectations and a clean slate, you’ll rock your new leadership role.
One common misconception is that as soon as you step into those shiny new boss shoes, you’ll have all the power and control in your hands. That’s not always the case. Sure, you’ll have slightly more authority than you did before you became the boss, but you may not always have the final word.
Another major mistaken belief is that managers must control their employees. This false idea will lead to problems when you step into the new position and discover that your employees will not blindly follow your every directive. I learned this through a great deal of trial and error. Everyone wants to feel like they are an essential part of your team. By empowering them to do things their way and rewarding them for greatness, an increased synergy will emerge. Part of learning how to be a good boss is learning how to encourage cooperation and collaboration – not absolute obedience – among employees.
A good leader is an excellent listener. Sharpen your active listening skills to build your team’s trust. I often use a technique that I learned in improv class: Allow two seconds of silence to pass before you speak and only ask questions about what the person said instead of putting yourself into the story. It also helps if you demonstrate a genuine interest in your employees, as well as a passion for your work. Enthusiasm begets enthusiasm!
Another way to earn trust is to be authentic. Instead of trying to be someone you’re not, admit to your weaknesses, use your strengths, and try to be the best version of yourself that you can be. I know when I started sharing that sometimes everything doesn't go as planned, people started identifying with me more. You don't have to share everything, but showing that you're human like everyone else can go a long way.
Finally, the best way to learn how to be a good boss is to banish the word “boss.” That word can have some negative connotations. Think of all the stories you’ve heard about horrible bosses. But how many stories have you heard about awful leaders? Instead of trying to boss people around, train your focus on becoming a good leader. Be the type of person with whom employees can engage in open discussion and can help your team work together. These qualities will make the workplace a more productive and peaceful zone for everyone.
About The Author:
Dr. Roshawnna Novellus is the Founder and CEO of EnrichHER, a platform created to provide funding opportunities for the vastly-underserved women-led business community. Dr. Novellus has been featured in Fast Company, Forbes, Huffington Post, Inc. WSJ, and Rolling Out. She has also completed the Pipeline Angels Fellowship, a Kauffman program in angel investing. Roshawnna serves on the Commission on Women for the City of Atlanta and was honored as one of the Women Who Means Business by the Atlanta Business Chronicle. Contact roshawnna on Twitter @DrRoshawnna
About EnrichHER We bring together a network of successful women-led businesses to accelerate business growth so that we cultivate a thriving ecosystem supported by business financing and a supportive community.
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