You sure you are supposed to be the boss?

Being the boss is awesome! Being the boss really sucks. If you are going to lead, be prepared for all of it, not just the good because there will always be a bit of, not necessarily bad, but definitely not good shit. If you are a real leader, you will thrive on both sides and be invigorated by all of it. If you only want wins and can’t deal with losing some of the battles, go work for somebody else because you are not built for this.

It is really OK to not be a leader. Leaders need followers. Good followers are as essential as good leaders. The number 2 and 3 people at Facebook and GE are doing pretty damned good. You have to know who you are and how you operate. I don’t do well without a big leash or being on point. I know this about me and that allows me to pick the right situations for myself to be successful. If you are a great doer of deeds, go do that for the right people and kill it.

If you are set to be the top dog and run your own gig, learn a really important lesson right now; take responsibility for everything. You are the top guy with nobody above you to blame. If you blame people below you, you are stupid because you picked these people and you are the one responsible for them and everything they do. If you lead from the front on culture, you can create a company where nobody pushes blame around like the broccoli a 3 year old won’t eat.

If people are afraid to accept responsibility, that is all you. Fear of failure in office culture comes from the top. If you are kicking asses and shredding people for every little mistake or not recognizing accomplishments enough, you are the problem. If somebody in your pipeline is creating a negative environment, that is also your fault due to a lack of decisive action; meaning, you didn’t fire the problem because you are blind, weak, or you just don’t care enough. Basically, it all falls on you. Your staff is your staffa and you are responsible.

You have to accept that failure is part of the process. If failure is all somebody knows, you have to train them or let them go. If everyone is growing from everyone’s failure and success, you are good. If you are leading, you had to fail along the way to the position you now have. It was a bunch of micro failures that became a macro success. If it was good enough for you, it is good enough for those that work for you. Failure is not the problem, it is the response to failure that defines the long term gain or ultimate failure of your business. If you're learning, you are winning.

Be the bigger boss and check your ego at the door. You are not infallible and that is what you should promote in your culture. Teach people to learn from failure and show that you support them in the process of growing from the 5 or 6 that they are to the 10 you hired them to evolve into. Yes, you don’t hire 10’s, you hire 5’s and 6’s that will grow into 10’s. No matter what experience you hire, it doesn’t have experience working for/with you. Everyone needs to grow into positions and it is your job to cultivate them properly.

Really take the time to see where you are meant to be in the food chain. You may want to be the boss but have the DNA to be a number 2 or 3. You may also be a real leader stuck in a 2 or 3 position that you shouldn’t have accepted in the 1st place. It’s all about knowing who you are, figuring out what you want, and building a good team to accomplish the goal or joining a team that you can help achieve a goal. Again, you have to know who you are and do that.


Brian Wright