Don’t be a boss —
be a leader
"How to be a good boss." If only there was an app for that...
Oh, but there is. Much to my delight, earlier this year I stumbled upon a graphic in Southwest Airlines’ magazine Spirit — the Life Apps Bossifier. It is a perfectly simple, one-page cheat sheet on being a good leader. Based on Bob Sutton’s Good Boss, Bad Boss, this “app” combines funny, clip art-like images with five simple rules to live by as a leader in any organization. Needless to say, it has found a permanent place on my wall. Akin to Siri reminding me of my child’s next doctor appointment, it pops into my view in a flash just when I need it. Simple. Practical. Effective.
The graphic suggests these workplace strategies:
- Protect your people. Have your employees’ backs.
- Throw out bad apples. Take care of poisonous personalities.
- Mind the spotlight. Remember that people are watching you.
- Get out of the way. Know when to sit back.
- Fight fair. Show employees how to find solutions to problems.
Leaders all have the intent to sit down, truly examine their style and approach and improve their relationship with employees and management. But this kind of reflection often lands on the back burner after day-to-day operations. You wake up a year later saying, “I really need to do that.”
With the Bossifier, every day I catch a glimpse of the cartoon person in the suit of armor and it instantly connects: protect your people and be a human shield. And the man hiding behind the decorative plant… “Yes,” I tell myself. I need to do that more often: know when to push and when to get out of the way.
Sure there is a lot more to being a good leader than five quirky illustrations and a few one-liners. But for me, this is practical application at its finest. You can and should read the books — especially Sutton’s, from which this “app” was born. It is a staple.
But if you can’t, there is no reason to put off to tomorrow what you can absolutely do today: become a better leader. Right now. No excuses. It matters.
Today, you have the chance to impart upon others what the great leaders in your career have shared with you. And if you haven’t experienced great leadership before and don’t know where to begin, check out this app and then go seek out the nearest office plant — the real leaders are hiding back there in a suit of armor.
“After you plant a seed in the ground, you don’t dig it up every week to see how it is doing.” — William Coyne, former vice president at 3M.