Being a boss is an attitude. We can all be bosses – in fact, we are all bosses throughout our lives at different times. Being a boss means leading, showing the way. Being a boss means inspiring and motivating others. You don’t have to be the CEO of a large multinational with thousands of employees to be classified as a boss. A taxi owner is a boss. The owner of the salon is a boss. Being a boss is temporary; it doesn’t have to last over time. We can be bosses for a little while, a period of time, or for a project. Whoever takes the initiative at a social dinner and gets the waiter’s attention is acting as the boss. Whoever collects the money for a colleague’s birthday gift is a boss. Whoever directs a play is a boss. That’s why I don’t like to talk about a boss as a title given to a person in charge of an organization; I prefer to understand it as an attitude in life, like any other. Above all, I want to stamp out the erroneous idea that once you become a boss, no one will help you shoulder the work.
Being a boss is a matter of attitude
The common denominator among all these situations where someone acts as the boss is taking the initiative. Stepping up and doing the hard work, whether you’re alone or have help.
I really like to talk about migratory birds on their long journeys from breeding to wintering areas, looking for the best place to feed; they take turns in leadership. This is a wonderful spectacle that nature offers us. In Spain, we are lucky enough to see the European – African migration route.
It’s a long journey that’s full of dangers and hazards – some natural, such as weather or predators, and others caused by humankind, such as illegal hunting and other obstacles that may come up along the way. This goes to show that bird migration is not a monolithic activity. Birds adapt as these changes arise. Such changes are life itself.
Many large birds fly in flocks; this helps them reduce energy consumption. They fly in a V formation, and the individual energy savings reach up to 20%. It’s been shown that they fly 5 km/h faster when they fly in flocks than when alone. The team offers highly beneficial synergies.
This instinctual behavior is dictated by their biological clock. There are several theories about how they work. Some say that older birds act as guides, though we also know that there are birds like cuckoos that don’t know their parents and follow the route that’s written in their DNA. The species has a memory; they use the earth’s magnetism, guiding themselves based on the sun when traveling by day or following the stars at night. Some species fly thousands of kilometers non-stop until they reach their destination. That’s why they use shared leadership. They take turns at the helm because it’s exhausting. Flying against the wind is exhausting. Being a boss is sometimes exhausting.
Settling into the position is not an option
That’s why I think that people shouldn’t stay in the position of a boss just because they think they’ve reached the highest point of their career. Being a boss is a matter of being one effectively and wanting to be one. Many people are tired of being a boss, and this is the main reason they don’t do it well. They should take a breath, make way for others with fresh energy, and return when their whole being can fly hard like birds. We should normalize the idea that it’s not a step down, just a state of work.
We should learn and unlearn how to be bosses. Knowing how to recognize fatigue and stepping aside for someone else. Thinking, analyzing, and evaluating what improvements we could make the next time we have to take the lead. There are always things to improve, especially when flying high and the speed in decision-making is practically done in real-time.
We can’t propose groundbreaking, innovative methods without ethics and responsibility. Can you imagine being a boss for a day at your company? What would you do?
If you do things that don’t benefit the group, the team, things grind to a halt pretty quickly.
The eternal question: is a boss born or made?
People always ask me if a boss is born or made. The answer: both. There are natural leaders who have this imprinted on their genetic map, just like there are music virtuosos at an early age. There aren’t as many as we think. And thank goodness, because that means you can also learn to be a leader and a boss. There are many organizations of all kinds that need a boss, and there isn’t always a natural one available. A natural boss who develops that innate ability will be a charismatic leader.
Any leader can be positive or negative. We all know great historical leaders who have used their ability for evil and chaos. That’s why, whether someone is an innate leader or one that’s grown, it is necessary for them to grow and cultivate a positive, moral, responsible attitude in themselves.
A leader is someone who conveys their goals with conviction and clarity, leads by example, and persuades, negotiates, inspires, collaborates, innovates, and acts ethically.
Being a boss is not just a matter of salary, benefits, and status. Being a boss is a matter of responsibility to the owners or shareholders, to employees, to colleagues, and above all, to families. And if you ask, to you, too. Being a boss is a commitment that you acquire where the utmost degree of responsibility to others is implicit.
That’s why you have to be very careful with what you want or aspire to because, sometimes, it comes true. And if you were just thinking about money or the size of the office, you’ll be in for a big surprise, one that’s hard to handle.
Being a boss is not easy. It requires a lot of energy, tenacity, and determination.
It’s important to be clear if you really want to be a boss – why? What attracts you to being a boss?
Think about it: not everyone is cut out to be a boss. It’s important to assess whether we have the ability to lead people. Being a boss is not only having the skills to be one; you also have to want to be one. Being a boss is a tough sport.