A toxic manager once told me that it was his worst bosses who had taught him the most in life. That is an elegant thought but there is only so much suffering we can endure. The truth is, no one deserves to be treated unfairly by a person in power.
Toxic work environments and abuse of power has to stop. This website is taking part in that (r)evolution.
Most of my career has been under horrible bosses. My old manager was right in that they taught me the most -- they taught me what I was willing to accept in my life and what I wanted real empathy to look like in leadership. I decided to become my own boss. You can do that, too. Here's something to get you started.
1) First, realize that being your own boss does not mean starting your own business (but you can if you want!) Being your own boss means empowering yourself to take responsibility for what you do, and perform quality work because if you were the boss, that's what you'd want. You take on the level of responsibility in your work where you decide what's important, why it's important, and when you'd do it. You can do this within the realm of a 9 to 5, and even with a micromanaging manager. You'd just have to be extra strong in your self-belief and to know yourself and your purpose.
2) Treat your clients and coworkers as your customers. If you're the boss, who are you working for? If you're not the boss, who are you REALLY working for? Determine who are your real and actual customers:
These are the people you truly work for, not your boss. Derive your schedule and to-do list around them... the likely outcome is that you'd become so productive that you would outgrow your boss, you will get promoted, or perhaps your boss will jealously try to hide you or claim your successes for his own. If that last one is the case, let your light shine... somewhere else.
3) Focus on adding value. Just by incorporating that one focus into everything you do, you can literally transform the way you work. When you focus on adding value, you turn from a place of taking value -- or asking "what's in it for me?" -- to a person who gives value to others -- "what can I do to help you?"
The key is to focus on what is valuable to the person you are serving. People just want their needs met. Anything a person ever does is indirectly or directly done to meet their particular needs. If you really think about your customers and what they want, then you give it to them, you can't help but be successful -- monetarily, spiritually, and productively.
4) Know yourself and your power. The key to being successful as your own boss is to have an accurate inventory of your assets and liabilities. If you know you can never be on time, plan it 30 minutes prior. Or allow your schedule to be as flexible as possible. If you know you are very good at determining the motives of people, don't let anyone tell you otherwise or cause you to doubt yourself. You may take constructive criticism, but never doubt yourself.
5) Let praise flow like water. Being your own boss is stressful, and we need to take the time each day to acknowledge our greatness and praise ourselves for the good we have done in the world each day. Praise fills us up when we are spent, and helps us all realize the truth that we are enough.
Likewise, be sure to praise your team regularly. If you've ever had a bad manager, you will realize that they use praise and gratitude sparingly, or not at all. We all need to learn from them -- and remember to show gratitude and appreciation to everyone we meet and serve every day.
What are some tips that you might think are important to become your own boss? Share in the comments below.
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