How many times you had some negative things to say about your boss or heard somebody criticizing his or hers? Like in every situation, one should always look at both sides to a story. Often in life, it seems much easier to show how smart you are when you seem to have lot of advice for somebody else but not for yourself. The lack of experience, having a narrower point of view about certain things or simply ignoring yourself and enjoying seeing what others don’t do well, doesn’t prove that you are smarter. It proves merely a certain level of your ignorance. Yet one can move from the ignorance phase to ‘I better fully observe and learn more about the situation’ one. Then your conclusion will be in almost all the cases different than the initial one. This way, you will understand that person better and your opinion will be more informed. Here a perfect use of the following idiom comes in handy: ‘walk a mile in (someone's) shoes’, explained as “To spend time trying to consider or understand another person's perspectives, experiences, or motivations before making a judgment about them.”*. Until you do this, you are not in the position to have a solid opinion.
I myself was in the position at a certain point of my career to be a boss to a small team. Handling a smaller team is definitely easier than a bigger one. I must tell you that. Nevertheless, the team size didn’t stop me from trying my best to be the boss I would like to have. In this way I was being true to myself, my principles and my beliefs. Regardless the size of the team, managing a team is not a walk in the park. I knew I wanted to be a good example to my subordinates, so I never asked from them what I didn’t provide myself. And I went further than that. I was never acting with ‘my way or the highway’ attitude, I approached them with respect and more as a colleague, less as a boss. I always paid attention to their opinions, encouraged them to think for themselves and very important I respected their free time. Making mistakes is part of the game, but through them we learn as well. And no, I never felt that I lack authority. On the contrary, I always felt that their respect was genuine, and what was more important I could see their trust in me and motivation for work. In terms of business, the results were achieved as well. One of the most wonderful things that happened to me in my life was to hear one of my subordinates saying something like this: “When I meet my friends, each time they have something to criticize about their job or their bosses, but not me, I don’t have these problems. My boss is great and I love my job.” My heart swelled when I heard this. It was the most important confirmation of all that I did a good job. We should never forget that we are dealing with people and it is so important to have empathy. With the ‘treat others like you would like to be treated’ approach, they will also go the extra mile, not because you asked them to, and not just because they want to prove what they are worth to the company, but because they want to prove it to you, their boss. Look at it as a pay-back for the way you lead them. And believe me, this is the best thing that one can experience as a boss. If you feel like you aren’t there yet, don’t give up. If your goal is genuine the results will be there.
I managed to be the boss I wanted. What about you?
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You stole the moon for me.
I lost myself in the constellations
I traced along your skin
the night becoming a vacuum;
something ours alone.
I bottled your sweet sighs
while you weren’t watching,
memorized the flutter of your eyes
and the songs we kissed to
will play over and over again in my head;
~ Joseph A. Pinto
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