We’ve had quite a bit of snow in NC this winter. Schools have been closed for several days and I’ve brought my kids with me to the office. I’m fortunate to work places that allow me that leeway and flexibility. I don’t take it for granted at all.
A couple years ago, I brought my daughter to the office when she was sick and I wrote this post on her observations (Spoiler alert — she thought it was boring; but her reasons will surprise you!) … I was anxious to hear what she would say about my new office and co-workers after spending time there for almost a full day.
She didn’t think my new office was boring. However, she had some interesting thoughts on my boss. When I asked her what she thought about my boss, she said “Ms. Kay? I like her. She’s nice.”
Ms. Kay is not my boss. She is the HR intern. “Why do you think she’s the boss?”
“She came in late and she left early. She has the biggest room out of everybody. And she gets to come into your office to make you sign stuff. She’s the boss.”
Let’s break this down …
Coming in late and leaving early. The intern is a student so she works only a few hours, a few days a week … However, even at her age, my daughter knows “the boss” doesn’t always work as hard or long as those in support roles. This is kinda true. Lots of bosses think they’ve paid their dues and being in charge is permission to slack off. It isn’t. Good bosses are usually the first in and the last out.
Biggest office. The intern has a desk and work area in the file room … However, my daughter knows “the boss” gets the biggest room. This is usually true — but the space should not be wasted. It should be an inviting space that encourages camaraderie, creativity and candor. Good bosses make their office an oasis and a haven.
Make people do stuff. The intern brings me documents to sign for approval to process and/or pay. She comes in, nicely asks me to sign-off and I usually comply … However, my daughter knows “the boss” tells people what to do –and they do it! And if they don’t do it, there is trouble. This is also kinda true — but bullying and threatening people to get compliance will not lead to long term success. Authority and power should be used to develop and motivate the people in your influence. Good bosses build people up to make the work environment better and faster.
Being the boss is about being willing to guide, help and serve the people you work with and work for — no matter the size of your office or staff or organization.
My real boss was the person who helped my daughter get potato chips out of the snack cabinet when she couldn’t reach the top shelf.