How To Not Suck At Being The Boss

Who doesn’t want to be in charge?

For the most part, everyone wants to have the final say. But like a dog chasing its tail, most people aren’t sure what at to do with it once they’ve been given the job. Being in charge is more than a title; it’s an obligation, not only to yourself, but to your employees. It’s up to you to be the boss in the most effective way possible. Note that I did not say the nicest way or the way that keeps everyone happy. Being in charge is highly unlikely to make you Mr. or Mrs. Congeniality so leave your friendships at the door, and let’s get started.

First things first. Being the boss and being a great manager do not always go hand in hand. Some of you may disagree with this position, but it has been my experience that people management is a great skill that, when performed well, requires full immersion with your employees. That makes it impossible to keep your perspective of what’s good for the business overall. Step 1: Find yourself a great people manager.

Step 2: Identify your strengths and weaknesses. Being the boss doesn’t mean you’re great at everything. It means you’re great at finding people who are great at each different aspect of your business and showing them how to work together. Where you can lend your personal expertise, please do, but don’t get down in the trenches too deep. Someone has to keep the blinders off at all times.

Do not hire your friends, family or charity cases. I know this sounds like a no-brainer, and we’ve all heard it before. However, you are more than likely be approached by someone from one of these three categories (if you haven’t already), and it will seem like a harmless good deed. It may even look like a great fit for your company at the time, Do not fall for this all-too-common death trap. Emotion is good for your business in some ways, but this is not one of them. You don’t need to be distracted with personal problems while on the job. Step 3: Keep it professional, with professionals.

Step 4: Take time. We all have flaws, and this one has been amongst my own. I’ve been lucky enough to have a partner who lives to hear an employee’s “why” or a customer’s daily struggles. When you sit back and watch the magic happen, you realize that you can’t pay enough money to get what comes out of just taking time to understand the people around you. You already care; just take the time to show it.

Last but not least, know when to let go. As the boss, you bear the burden of knowing (in the words of Kenny Rogers) “when to hold them and when to fold them.” This goes for ideas, employees, partners, assets and maybe even the business itself. The ability to separate your emotional attachment from what’s right for the businesses is an absolute must. Sometimes you have to go with your gut, but you should always take the time to analyze and properly strategize your next moves. Step 5: If it doesn’t add up, do what needs to be done and don’t look back.

In reality, being a great boss is more than five steps. It’s more than a responsibility, more than a commitment and certainly more than a job. A great boss understands sacrifice and recognizes that it’s not about their own needs. It’s about the mission. Your job is to ensure that your mission and your people are successful and that your core values are still intact when you cross the finish line.

Dawn Strobel
About the author: 

Based in Dallas, TX, Dawn Strobel is the Chief Executive Officer of Go By Truck, Inc., the only fully automated, free market, freight management company in the United States.  And with nearly 130,000 followers, she is an “Influencer” on LinkedIn.  Follow her on Twitter.