I used to criticize the people who were serious and even cold in the corporate world. I didn’t understand why it seemed to be so difficult for some people to smile and open up. I thought that they were unhappy and bitter; I would even leave the meetings in a bad mood. But after several years as a professional, I don’t criticize the people who keep a sensible distance from others at work anymore. I admire them now.
Since I started working, before I was 20 years old, I always imagined that when I had the opportunity to be the boss, I was going to be the nice, fun boss. I was going to talk a lot to my employees, laugh with them and do everything possible so they would feel relaxed and happy at work. I dreamt of building this work environment, and that made me feel a Little like a heroine, thinking that I could achieve what so many people had not been able to: ‘to be the fun boss, the perfect boss, the ideal boss”.
But what I never imagined is that when that time came in my life I put to the side my work style and instead focused my energy on pleasing my employees. I am not saying that it is bad to try to be a good boss, but I do want to say that when we obsess too much with anything we could lose perspective and balance. What could have been a good idea may end up as a disaster, which is what happened to me.
Even today, after analyzing this situation from different standpoints, it is a topic that still keeps me up some nights. What happened? What led me to this point? At what moment did I give up my principles and style just so I could be the perfect boss? I think in my case I was afraid to lose the image I had created of being the fun, modern, and understanding boss.
How could the “cool” boss yell at someone for coming late to work if everyone has the right to manage their own time as long as they show results? How could the “understanding” boss write someone up for continuous mediocrity if we all can make mistakes? How could the “generous” boss not give good gifts to the employees since it is necessary to keep them motivated?
I knew all these things were wrong. I understood that lateness had a limit, mediocrity damaged the company’s goals, and that things in work are earned. Not only did I know these things; I believed in them. So what happened? I made a mistake not due to ignorance, but due to the fact that I chose not to believe in anything. I betrayed myself, I didn’t act with the freedom a boss should act with, I didn’t expect respect from others and I didn’t respect myself.
1. Take time to know what you like and dislike when it comes to work so you can understand your work style. If your style is serious and distant, it is ok, that is your personality.
2. Before starting a new job or a decisive meeting remember who you are, what do you really want, and what do you believe in. Write it down if necessary.
3. The moment you feel something is not right, try to find the source and the solution. Use your experience, knowledge, and vision.
4. Remember that not everything must be rosy to please people. When you have to tell someone the truth, do it as soon as possible, especially if they are your employees.
5. Give yourself the right and the freedom to be yourself at work. There is no perfect job, boss, or worker. Everyone needs to accept the weaknesses and strengths of others without covering them up.
6. Be kind and cooperate with the people you work with, but find a balance.
7. If you are a business owner or you want to be, know that you have the right to give your company your style and do things your way.
Nowadays I am thankful that I didn’t have that many people under me before I had the opportunity to realize that the cloud where my employees and I were on would soon fall down. I know now that if I have a second chance to be a boss, things will change for the better.
“I am not slave to what people think. I have been liberated of that obsession, of the necessity to give people the motives to applaud. Now I only answer to my conscience.” Borja Vilaseca - El principito se pone la corbata.