We all know you want to advance your career. You work hard, maybe you’ve put in overtime, maybe you’ve been working on your bachelor’s or master’s degree in your off-time—you’ve set your sights on that corner office, and you’re not going to stop until you get it. And we believe in you! Go get it!
But have you ever wondered what sort of boss you would be when you do finally land that promotion? Picture it, you’re sitting behind your desk, all your degrees are framed on the wall, your employees knock politely at your door…but who do they see when they walk in your office? We’d all like to think we’d be relatable and approachable like Liz Lemon from 30 Rock or supportive and nurturing like Tyra Banks on America’s Next Top Model. We all think we would be the best boss!
There’s a chance you’d be a different kind of boss, though. What if you’re really more of a Michael Scott from The Office, or Miranda Priestly from The Devil Wears Prada? You might even be more of a Ron Swanson! Or, worst of all, you could be Mr. Burns from the Simpsons. (Okay, it’s hard to imagine anyone being as bad as Mr. Burns.) Still, it’s fun to wonder: which kind of boss would you be? It depends a lot on your answers to these questions.
Can you delegate?
If you have ever described yourself as a control freak, you may have trouble delegating. This can lead to employees feeling like you’re looking over their shoulders. One good way to determine if this may be you is to think about group projects you’ve worked on, even if they were in college and not in a professional environment. Did you find yourself redoing the work your colleagues did? Those may be signs you’re not a great delegator.
How to improve your delegation skills: It helps to assign tasks to people according to their skillsets so you don’t feel as much urge to double check everything they do. Also consider building in benchmarks when you assign the task, so that rather than asking for updates or to see progress, your employees are regularly updating you on how a project is going.
Are you a pushover?
Some bosses let employees walk all over them. If you’ve ever been described as too nice, it may be something that could happen to you. Or perhaps you just feel under-qualified to be the boss! We all get a case of imposter syndrome once in awhile. Maybe you feel like the college you went to wasn’t as prestigious as an underling’s, or maybe they’re older than you and you feel intimidated.
How to stop being a pushover: Boundaries can help. It’s important to listen to points of view other than your own, but rather than making a rash decision to give into an employee’s demand or suggestion, tell them they make an interesting point and that you’re going to consider their point of view and get back to them.
Are you too demanding?
We’ve all had the boss who expects people to work overtime and weekends, or who doesn’t have realistic expectations for how long a task should take. If you’ve ever been told you’re difficult, it might be that you’re someone people could consider demanding. High standards certainly aren’t a bad thing, but it’s important to pay attention to clues that this may be your problem. Do you have multiple employees who aren’t hitting deadlines? Does all conversation hush when you walk in the break room? Those can be signs that your team needs a bit more understanding from you.
How to stop being too demanding: Pay attention to empirical data. If only 10% of your team is completing tasks on time, your deadlines are probably unreasonable. Stress is shown to decrease job performance as well as increase work absences, so it’s in everyone’s best interest to make sure your employees don’t feel like it’s impossible to please you. Another important way a boss can offset the stress of a demanding job is to routinely recognize and reward good work from employees.