One of the most important core principles of Solutions 21 is Building Better Bosses.
In today’s workforce, the word “boss” is an unmentionable, and at times provocative, noun. It continues to have a negative connotation. Our Founder & President at Solutions 21, Buddy Hobart, first wrote about this topic almost two years ago in his blog, “Why is ‘boss’ a dirty word?” My first blog of this series, “Building better bosses”, was published almost one year ago.
The fact of the matter is that this topic has been an issue for quite some time, as evidenced by Buddy’s and my previously published blogs. The second fact is that bosses are necessary. Someone has to be in charge and make decisions. And while not everyone is cut out for – or wants – this role, there is an absolute need for decision makers and authority in every aspect of life.
The real problem seems to have escaped us. You see it’s not the word “boss,” or even the word “authority”, that is the issue. It is the people defining these roles. They are to blame for the negative stereotype bestowed upon the word.
At Solutions 21, we believe that becoming a boss is a process, not a destination you reach based on time served. Learning how to make decisions, manage people, understand human behavior, and build muscle memory is essential to holding – and successfully executing – the position.
And while the old school approach was about as predictable as a coin flip, today’s competitive workforce demands better odds.
Take, for example, a recent scenario that I came across – and keep in mind that this is a best-case scenario: Company A has a young, up-and-coming talent in their organization. Boss of Company A recognizes this employee’s potential and chooses to work with him personally. He commits to helping this employee achieve his goals. They plan to catch up over coffee once a month and the boss stresses his open door policy, which makes him accessible any time that said employee needs him. Day or night. 24/7.
Sounds good right? This isn’t a trick question. OF COURSE this sounds good!
Time! It is our most precious resource and something that we cannot create more of. While the boss’s willingness to mentor and commit to helping the young employee is genuine, it is unrealistic. To no fault of his own, boss of Company A cannot dedicate the required time to coach this individual. Think about it: Coffee once a month turns into coffee every few months and so on. Time is a precious commodity for any executive. Priorities are redefined every minute of every hour of every day.
The fact of the matter is that development takes time. Coaching takes time.
We cannot leave the development of our high-potential employees to a coin flip. We need to build better bosses. Bosses that change the way our workforce recognizes this position of power.