What is a “boss”? It’s more than the guy with “Number 1” on his coffee cup. More than the corner office and much more than the designated parking space. Being the boss is so much better – and harder and more challenging – than that. Being the boss means more glory and much, much more responsibility. You get credit for other people’s work, sure, but you also get blamed for other people’s screw-ups. People pat you on the back for things that came out of sheer luck and blast you in public for problems you had no control over. Guess which happens more often?
Being a “good” boss requires more than your “fair share” of sleepless nights. Excessive time spent simply considering ramifications and doing your best to come up with answers to questions you can’t fully comprehend. You may not even realize what needs to be asked, but you must find the answers anyway.
All of this comes because decisions must be made, and you are the one who must make them. It’s your job. Right or wrong, for better or for worse, you will be married to the decisions you must make … because you are the “boss.”
Further, you can all but guarantee – no, really, you can guarantee –no matter what you do, your decisions make some people happy and other people not so happy. In some cases, your decisions make NOBODY happy, and the times when you make (almost) everyone happy are few and far between.
But, you know what… it will be YOUR decision. No one can take it from you. Sure, you can’t blame anyone else if the whole thing blows up, but, you know what, you don’t have anyone else telling you to do something you KNOW will blow the whole thing up either. You simply have you to answer to. Yes, your employees depend on you to make good decisions, but the trouble stops where the buck stops. You have to live with what you decide … and you are free of having to live with what other people decide for you.
That’s a special kind of freedom. Sure, it can be scary and daunting and challenging and painful. But it can also be exhilarating and wonderful and motivating and glorious.
Being a “good” boss is about embracing all of these things. Diving in with both feet, eyes wide open and arms outstretched to embrace the opportunity.
Roman Temkin is a real estate developer and an entrepreneur from NYC.