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Just Because You're the Boss, Doesn't Mean You Have to be a Jerk!

We've all had them.Bosses who led through fear and managed like they were kings or queens and all employees were simply serfs.Those who asked for feedback, as long as it was good.  Bad bosses! 

So as an entrepreneur, how much impact do you think those bosses have had in forming the foundation of YOUR leadership and management philosophy, going forward?  I've said it many times before - we are products of our environment.

Some folks are lucky and have some innate management skills. Maybe you're one of them, maybe not. But, the long and the short of it is that, as you grow your company you will have to hire and manage people to achieve that growth. Plus, for some entrepreneurs (like me), your company might be your first management position, ever!  So then you will only have the experiences of those who managed you as data points. You will have to learn how to be a boss and you have to learn how not to become like the one (or ones) you hated most in your business life.

Either way, hiring, leading and managing people will be no "walk in the park." Let's look at what you'll be facing and how to create an environment where there are three growth points - you, your employees and, ultimately, your company. Because with each new hire, you are building the foundation of your company and your culture.

Being the boss, doesn't make you the smartest person in the room!
Too many entrepreneurs adopt an attitude that because it's their company and they're the boss that they "know best." Don't become a bad parent, "because I said so!" You may actually hire somebody smarter than you (in fact you should; it will help you and your company grow). Be approachable. Listen to what they have to say. And don't be afraid to seek out and learn from their feedback, including negative feedback. That helps both sides.

Let them know your values, and therefore, your company's values.
What are the two or three things that are most important to you, personally, and for your new company? What does or do you want your company to stand for? Tell new employees that this is what you're trying to build (I would do this during the interview process) and what you are going to expect them to live up to. It will give them a sense that you are building more than just a company; a sense of purpose.

Manage employees the way you would have liked to have been managed.
Think of all those stupid and mindless directives that managers used to give you. Remember those managers who treated you like a clerk, not like the professional you were. Vow that you will not do that to people who you bring into your company. Treat them as human beings and professionals. Be human.Understand employees have bad days just like owners.

Make learning as important as doing.
Create an environment where people are encouraged to grow, both in their job and personally. Allow them to fail, i.e., nobody gets fired for mistakes. Review the mistake with them and have them learn from it. Don't just allow questions but make them almost a requisite regarding their job, their prospects for the future, the company and its direction. Make "why" the most important question in the building.And the answers critical to company and employee growth.

Make customers your common focus.
Preach the gospel of "customer." Make sure employees know who pays their salary (you just sign their checks). Encourage them to always "go the extra mile" for customers; to not only listen to problems, but to truly try to solve them. Make sure you, as the owner, are listening to what the customers are saying and reacting accordingly. "Walk the talk" when it comes to providing great customer service. Make your employees your emissaries.

Starting your company was a "walk in the park" compared to hiring, leading and managing employees.It's definitely a challenge, but a necessity for growth. But you don't have to be jerk to succeed!

"The Entrepreneur's Yoda" knows these things. He's been there. May success be with you!

As an entrepreneur, what's been your experience as you hired people. Include the story in your comments. It will help other entrepreneurs!

If you like this post, by all means, share it with your networks and colleagues.


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