There are good ones, there are bad ones, there are so-so ones, there are hapless ones, there are hopeless ones, there are helpless ones, there are barely competent ones, there are completely incompetent ones, there are steady ones, there are mercurial ones, there are despotic ones, there are predictable ones, there are unpredictable ones, there are outstanding ones, there are world class ones, and thereís you.
Which adjective best describes you? Not which adjective youíd pick to describe yourself as boss, rather, which adjective would your boss use speaking of you? Which would your peers and colleagues use? And, perhaps most importantly and revealing, which adjective would your subordinates select?
Not that being in management is a popularity contest. Years ago, it was said that management or business ownership were careers where you worked harder than people realized and earned less than they thought. Yet here you are in management and in a role of supervising people.
Most owners or managers will tell you that they spend an inordinate amount of time dealing with people issues rather than with process and production issues. Well, the reality is that thatís the realityópeople have moods and attitudes but machinery and equipment donít. And itís how you deal with those around you, at all levels, that determines your reputation as a boss.
There are times when youíll make a decision that seems so correct and obvious to you that youíll question why it needs an explanation. Itís needed because itís part of open communications and also because those charged with its implementation likely do not have your overarching view of the situation.
Clearly there will be times when youíll make an unpopular decision. If the decision is made in the midst of a crisis, then, as soon as practicable, explain it. If not made under the pressure of time, then explaining, prior to implementation how you reached it will make it more palatable. If you canít explain your decision at all, then reconsider it or make a correcting one. If you wonít explain it on the premise that youíre the boss or they donít need to know, then select the most appropriate negative adjective for yourself.
Why so much focus on decisions? Because, ultimately, decision-making is the linchpin of company operations and is the most obvious and knowable attribute of a boss. So, by your decisions and communication thereof, shall ye be known.
Think of what youíve learned from both bad and good bosses. Itís pretty simple then, isnít it, to be a positive boss? Donít do what the worst bosses did, even if it seems theyíve earned their position by such behavior. Do follow and use the principles youíve learned from the best bosses. And, finally, pick and choose the good attributes and principles youíve seen in those bosses who fall somewhere between the extremes. Then, strive to be the best.
L. Douglas Mault is president of Executive Advisory Institute, Portland, Ore. The website is www.consulteai.com; he can be reached at (888) 428.3331.