boss | bôs | noun
a person in charge of a worker or organization
What does it mean to be a boss?
While I’ve only ever been in charge of other workers a handful of times, I’ve had plenty of bosses. What I’ve learned along the way is from the examples they’ve set.
Some of them have been brilliant examples of leaders:
kind, attentive, caring, headstrong, impeccable with their word, bold, brave, and human.
Some of them have been brilliant examples of how not to be a boss:
egocentric, aloof, disorganized, emotionally unhinged, gossipy, immature, and self-centered (see egocentric).
The goal of any business is to make money, but how people go about treating the human element of what it takes to get there is really what makes the difference.
So a lot of what I’ve learned about effective leadership is how not to be.
This lesson was implanted as early as 16, working as a dry cleaner attendant in the hot summers of New Mexico. I remember getting so frustrated by my bosses as they embodied many of the traits I listed above under how not to be. When dealing with them, my parents humbly advised me that this was just providing me insight into how I would manage someday. They envisioned me in a position of power and encouraged me to set my sights high and know I was not done at that intersection. My parents are wise, with years of experience in leadership.
Being a boss means to be in charge. But being in charge is not the same as leading.
Lead: to show (someone or something) the way to a destination by going in front of or beside them
Leaders use guidance to work with others.
Being in charge is being in control. Not controlling, but, controlled. To have the foresight to know what needs to get done and how to delegate tasks in order to enact them, and to have the self-restraint against having to get everything done single-handedly. Being in control means letting go sometimes and trusting others to do what they’ve agreed they would do without the need to overlook or micromanage every action.
Many people are their own bosses; working for oneself is a common goal of people who are tired of working under others or who have ideas they want to pursue beyond what currently exists. But not everyone who wants to be independent has what it takes to lead others to work with them. That takes another set of characteristics and practices, such as the ability to listen, trust, empower, and communicate, effectively.
More important than being in charge of others, in my opinion, is the ability to be in charge of oneself. I don’t mean self-employed; I mean self-empowered. Having the capacity to check oneself. Taking accountability for one’s own happiness and life circumstances. Having the bodily autonomy to make one’s own decisions. Being able to determine one’s own destiny based on intentional desires.
Boss Babe is a phrase that achieved popularity in recent years, highlighting the empowerment of womyn in ruling their own lives and running shit, so to speak. Boss Babes take the reins on their lives. They determine what they’ll accomplish in their lifetime - not in an act of clairvoyance, but by being deep dreamers who set goals for themselves that far exceed the ceiling others may see for them. Possibilities are not capped for a Boss Babe. The world is their oyster and they are slurpin’ it in, extra hot sauce.
Boss Babes take the reins on their lives.
Sometimes this means setting clear limitations and boundaries in an act of self-preservation and to not be taken advantage of. That means being able to say “no”. It means being willing and able to compromise. It means saying “yes” to self-care.
How are you your own boss? Even if you work “under” someone else, how do you keep accountability for your own actions so that your needs get met? How do you take responsibility for you? Have you had bosses that changed the way you saw leadership (positively or negatively)?
What makes a boss stand out as exemplary?
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