Like a Boss

What does it mean to be a boss? When you hear the word “boss” do you picture your favorite boss or perhaps one you were not particularly fond of? Or do you picture some other dramatic version of a boss?

What about when it is your turn to be the boss? How do you decide which version of a boss to be? Peers or even friends are now your direct reports. It is a challenge and one of the most difficult transitions in business to move from a performer to a boss. That’s because you are now accountable for the performance of others, not just your own. Planning and assigning work for others requires new behaviors, different behaviors than managing your own work required.

As a boss or leader, your role is to be an enabler for your direct reports. Once that role comes, it is time to consider the behaviors you can engage in to enable your direct reports. Start by considering what support you need before you were promoted up the ranks. 

an illustration of a man giving a presentation at workLeaders set a clear direction.

In other words, they prioritize and help direct reports to know the goal of the work. When setting expectations, tell direct reports specifically what you expect. This is different than asking for performance; this is being clear regarding what you want to see and following up to make sure you get it. When you are clear about what, when, and where for the work, you can easily confirm whether you got back what you expected. Having structure and specific expectations allow for direct conversations when expectations are not met.

Leaders check in on progress.

This does not mean micromanaging or standing over someone’s shoulder while they work. Rather this is about reviewing work that you asked for, checking that it does not go into a black hole, and ascertaining that someone actually does the work they were asked to do. When you regularly ask how they are doing and for status updates, performers will come to expect your follow-up. Effective leaders check in to ensure work is on track and that performers have what they need to be successful. This also provides the chance to identify and mitigate barriers.

An illustration of coworkers chatting at a shared desk spaceLeaders remove barriers.

Leaders seek to understand what is getting in the way of performance. They help remove barriers and roadblocks. This does not mean that you do everything for performers, but you ensure they have the tools, time and authority to perform. Leaders stay close and listen to identify if there are challenges and seek mitigation. 

If you find performers are identifying the same barriers over and over, can you empower the performers to remove those barriers on their own? Help grow your team members by empowering them to solve problems. For example, if they have a problem getting answers from another department in response to email requests, suggest they try one more time and then call rather than email. If they still do not get an answer, then they can loop you in to assist.

Leaders provide feedback.

Leaders let you know how you did, both the good and the bad. People want to do a good job and perform well. Let direct reports know when their work is meeting and exceeding expectations. Be sure to include why it matters to link the task to the larger picture for the business. When someone is not performing, they need to know that as well. Tell them about the expectation and how the resulting work does not meet that mark. Ask how they can get there and what support you can provide. Again, follow-up is critical to let performers know you are there to support them and help them be successful.

Leaders help grow their people.

Leaders look for opportunities to develop the skills of direct reports. Learn what your directs want to do and help them develop the skills to progress and achieve those goals. Help direct reports to understand the business beyond the day-to-day activities. Let them know how their work impacts the success of the business. Provide inspiration and drive to contribute to the business. 

an illustration of coworkers having a pizza party at workLeaders celebrate.

A celebration is key. We often are so busy putting in time on work and then moving on to the next task that we don’t take a moment to reflect on the hard work and accomplishments we have made.

When the time comes and you are tapped on the shoulder for a leadership position, take some time to decide which version of a leader you want to be and plan how you will make that happen. Consider how you can serve as an enabler to help your team be successful and perform “Like a Boss!”



Supervise like a boss!

This training delves deeply into each of the six content areas described by the BACB Supervisor Curriculum Training Outline, including a sound model of supervision, various legal and ethical considerations, a supervisor repertoire sufficient to teach all the critical skills and repertoires the supervisee must master, and attention to detail in the provision of supervision and documentation of the experience. Each course includes tools and techniques for being an effective supervisor. 

21st Century Supervisor Course Series pic

21st Century Supervisor Course


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