When people imagine office bosses, they often imagine someone who’s dominant, calm, collected, and always on-point. But some other images may come to mind. We’ve all worked for bad bosses, right? We’ve worked for narcissists, arrogant people, and sometimes we’ve even worked for plain idiots who make us wonder how the heck they ever got that job.
Sometimes, it seems to be human nature for us to have a slight disrespect for authority. We detach ourselves from it slightly, even if we seem accepting of it on the surface. When you know about all of these things, actually becoming a boss can seem like a pretty daunting task. All bosses fear becoming the Michael Scott of their workplace.
The school of thought that says that a boss doesn’t deal with anywhere near the amount of stress and work that their employees do is mostly bunk. (Take note, Marxists.) The professional life of a boss can often be quite draining – and, emotionally, it can begin to take its toll.
How does one become an effective boss and keep that sanity? With this guide, we’re going to take a look at the ways that you can do both. The two aren’t always mutually exclusive: doing your job well will generally help keep you emotionally in check.
Taking the fun and inspiring approach
A lot of people know bosses that are absolutely no fun at all. Of course, you’re not there to be Santa Claus. Your workplace doesn’t have to be Disney World. But if you don’t appear to have the ability to be relaxed, then it’s going to make people uncomfortable with your leadership. And you know this – it’s part of why bosses can get so stressed. They know that their employees are usually judging them for being uptight and no fun.
You don’t need to completely throttle the fun side of yourself in order to be an effective boss. Anything you do to relieve your employees of stress in the workplace is going to help you here. Arranging for fun nights out and actually being in the work trenches with the employees will help them see you in a different light. Looking into some inspiring leadership slogans can also help you tremendously.
Don’t aim for perfection
When you become a boss, you don’t stop being a human being. Unfortunately, a lot of employees don’t seem to appreciate this! This is why the advice of the last section is pretty important. It helps remind your employees that you are, after all, still human. This makes the mistakes you’re going to make a lot easier for them to swallow.
And yes – you are going to make mistakes. We all do, and becoming a boss doesn’t mean you transcend that – nor should it mean you should ty to transcend it.
Admit mistakes and correct them
One of the things about being a boss that makes everything very stressful is that you know all eyes are on you. People are going to hold you under close scrutiny. You’ve been an employee before – you know that people will complain about bosses in private conversations. You’ll also be familiar with the fact that they tend to inflate the magnitude of any mistake a boss may make.
A reason this is so prevalent is that bosses are often unwilling to admit mistakes and try to correct them. Employees will complain and exaggerate because they kind of need to make up for the fact that their bosses aren’t accepting responsibility! So those mistakes you’re going to make? When it happens, admit it. When you admit that something was your fault and take steps to correct things, the respect your workers will have for you will raise tremendously.
The wrong road respect
And that’s what a lot of these issues boil down to – respect. If you have the respect of your workers, if they like you, then this makes everything feel so much more smooth. If you think your employees don’t respect you, then your head isn’t exactly going to be in a good space.
This worry drives bosses to make a lot of mistakes when it comes to actually earning that respect. Remember that there’s a difference between respectability and likability, those the lines do often blur. You want a mix of both, right? But bosses will often aim for the latter at the expense of the former – unaware that any sacrifice is being made. Bowing to every whim of your employees, going too easy on them when things go wrong, overlooking misbehavior, etc… none of this is going to earn you much respect in the long run. You wanted to be liked and respected – you don’t want to be a pushover.
Know how to deal with stress
At the end of the day, we all need to find ways to deal with stress. Stress is so dangerous to our long-term health that it’s surprising that we don’t have frequent PSAs on television warning us about this. Of course, some bosses may be willing to sacrifice a bit of long-term health in order to make sure their time as boss – a.k.a. right now – as effective as it can be. But stress also affects your short-term health and work performance.
You need to make sure you’re combatting stress to the best of your ability. Physical exercise is one of the best ways we have of fighting stress. But simply taking the time to read a book, watch a movie, or even play a video game can help you in the long-run. Which brings us to our final and very salient point…
Yes, you need to take a break
Bosses often believe that it’s a sin for them to take a break. It’s true that the nature of your work may mean that things get so hectic that you end up missing breaks. But you should be making an effort to have some chilled time every day.
In the long run, working too much is going to adversely affect your work. Not taking breaks eventually kills your productivity. It will also stress you out and make you irritable – and this doesn’t sound like a good combination if you want your workers to like you!