I’ve been having quite a few conversations lately about the merits of being your own boss; dancing to the beat of your own drum; being the architect of your own destiny, etc.
Being your own boss can be great, of course. It gives you freedom, but also great responsibility (isn’t that a line from Spiderman?). But I don’t think freelancers should have all the fun. I think, even if you work for someone else, you can be your own boss in other ways. And not just a boss, a good boss. As someone who’s had more than their fair share of managers, supervisors, and superiors (post-Uni job-hopping is to thank for that), I’ve got a pretty good idea of what makes a good one.
So here are my 5 ways to be your own boss, even if you’re not self-employed:
- Be Decisive
Running a business requires making hundreds of decisions a day, so a good boss has to be decisive. Our personal lives can be the same – thousands of choices that can overwhelm if you let them.
BYOB (Be Your Own Boss): Be decisive by whatever means necessary. Weigh up the pros and cons, analyse the facts, or go with your gut. It’s better to make a decision that turns out to be a mistake than to wallow in uncertainty and inactivity.
- Be Kind
A good boss has empathy for their employees, whether this applies to someone struggling with their workload, or a personal problem that’s affecting their performance.
BYOB: Be kind to yourself. We’re often guilty of being much harder on ourselves than we’d ever be on our friends or colleagues. This ranges from being overly critical of our looks to berating ourselves for something we’ve said. If you’re setting yourself unrealistic expectations it will only make you miserable in the end.
- Set Goals
Successful leaders help their employees to clarify their goals, and then to reach them. They do this by establishing deadlines, setting targets, and encouraging ambition.
BYOB: Set yourself goals. Not woolly, vague goals. Specific, measurable goals like, “I will save $500 towards my holiday by the end of the year,” or “I will run that half marathon in the summer.”
- Recognise Hard Work
Bad bosses fail to recognise hard work and it’s one of the most common reasons for people handing in their resignation. We all like to feel appreciated and valued.
BYOB: Appreciate yourself. Celebrate your successes. You don’t even need to do it out loud (Lord knows you don’t need to post a facebook status every time you’ve successfully chose carrot sticks over carrot cake), but give yourself a pat on the back when you deserve it.
- Take Responsibility
Finally, one of the hardest things about being the boss is knowing that the buck stops with you. But a good boss doesn’t shy away from taking responsibility when things go wrong.
BYOB: Stop making excuses for things that you know are your responsibility. This can apply to so many things in your life – not blaming other people for your bad mood, accepting that the world doesn’t owe you a living, knowing that sitting on your arse in front of the TV instead of going to the gym is nobody’s choice but yours.
So there you have it! You don’t need to be self-employed to reap the benefits of being your own boss!