I’ve worked in management roles for multiple companies, but somehow managed to avoid actually being a manager. I supervised a wonderful pool of interns throughout my career, but have never actually been in charge of hiring, firing, mentoring and performance reviews. That all changed when I became an entrepreneur and I needed to hire staff, manage employees, and really learn to be a boss. To do that, I’m asking questions of other great bosses, and reading everything I can about hiring and managing employees. Here’s what I’m implementing so far:
• Convey what you’re working on to staff members. I’m realizing how many things about my business reside in my head. And while, for me, they might be dull and boring, my employees need to know the process. I’m making an effort now to talk more about those intangible pieces I work on without thinking about it –- web analytics, competitor strategies, how I’m thinking about the future and etc. This gives my staff members an opportunity to express interest and create a meaningful project for both of us.
• Say thank you. As I look back on my worst bosses, I realize the common thread was a lack of gratitude for hard work and dedication to going above and beyond. I want to be the kind of boss who always appreciates her staff, and continually thanks them for the awesome work they do.
• Don’t trust but verify. Just trust. I’ve always been someone who checks in, checks up, and verifies that something is done. I’m realizing that in order to believe in your staff and let them grow, you must just trust. If a staff member falters, you’ll deal with it. Looking over their shoulders won’t help them feel autonomous, develop ideas, and ultimately grow both themselves and the business you run.
• Hire dedicated people and evaluate their dedication, not their hours or face time. Part of running a start-up is recognizing that my hours are irregular and my staff’s hours will be, too. I’m happy for people to work from home, from the office, from a coffee shop. Judgment of an employee must be based on dedication and excitement, because it’s only when those two things wane that employees will be ready to leave.
I’m still learning to be a boss. I’m sure everyone who manages people is always learning. It starts with a dedication to wanting to be not only good at your job, but good at leadership and management as well. Only that dedication to your staff will breed dedication in your staff.
Marcy Twete is the founder/CEO of Career Girl Network and the author of the book "You Know Everybody! A Career Girl’s Guide to Building a Network That Works," to be released in summer 2013.