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Congratulations new manager! Not only did you get a promotion and a payrise (which after tax, will buy you approximately one extra packet of cigarettes a month), but you’re managing a couple of people too. You’ve risen a few places on the organisational chart and two or three of your buddies are now jutting out below you rather than next to you. You’re stoked, they’re stoked- you’re one big happy, corporate family.

I’m totally kidding.

Becoming a boss is one of the hardest things to adjust to in business. Particularly, when the people you now have to manage were once your friends. In this situation, it’s inevitable that you will face conflict, jealousy and resentment. As a woman, you will also struggle against sexism and gender stereotyping which will arise from both your male and female colleagues. Piss someone off and it’s easy for them to label you a Bitch. Fail to manage your team properly and you risk being viewed as weak or inadequate.

So how do you get it right?

I’ll be honest with you, I’m no expert. I actually found being a female boss incredibly tough.

Since my first disastrous management role where I felt like I was entering 7 circles of hell on a daily basis, I’ve found myself watching male and female bosses, trying to disconcert what defines a good one from a bad one. Trust me when I say I’ve had a lot of experience of both.

Male or female, there are definitely some defining qualities that I believe all managers would do well to encapsulate. There will be times when you will upset people or have to give them a talking down, this is inevitable. But there are also things you can do to build them up and introduce mutual respect. Here are the 5 characteristics all good bosses should attempt to live by:

 

Protect your team

When you work in a client orientated discipline it’s easy to let them define the workload. Even when you know your team are close to burnout, it can be difficult to say no and easier to just push them to work that extra hour. This will never benefit your company in the longrun. Everyone should work hard and there will be times when things are fraught, but the best bosses know how to get the balance. An intense few weeks should be followed by some time in lieu, the chance to work from home or an early finish on a Friday afternoon. Look after your team’s physical and mental health as much as possible. Always give downtime where it’s due.

 

Be responsible

By this I don’t just mean avoiding desk dancing and lunchtime shooters. Make it your mission to take responsibility for the mistakes of your team, as if they were your own. There’s a time for sharp words, but when shit is raining down from at metaphorical fan, this is probably not it. Let your team know that matter what happens, you will be there to help them and this will go a long way to minimising the effects of any mistakes they do make.

 

Build your own company culture

The best companies are rarely defined by their payscale. I’m not saying playing butthead with midgets is a great example, but the Wolf of Wall Street really knew how to help his team let their hair down on a Friday and they loved him for it. At the company I work for we have a Friday playlist that goes on as soon as the clock hits 5pm. This instantly puts everyone into a good mood and allows them to get through the last hour with an extra surge of mojo. I’m also a big fan of Monday breakfast club. Half of your team are probably on their second day hangover by then and a bowl of porridge or a fruit smoothie is often all they need to turn their day (and your profit) right back around.

 

How to be a good boss (taken from the Wolf of Wall Street)

 

Give praise, publicly

In a modern day office you’re probably hitting multiple sources of communication with your colleagues per day. A well timed compliment in a team skype room, email or Hipchat is a great way to give your staff member a warm buzz and show that you give praise where it is due.

 

Know when to hand over the reins

I once worked on a contract which, if successful, could lead to a six figure deal for the company the following year. While briefing my team on their positions on day 1, the CEO and founder of my organisation turned up. He walked over to our huddle and I quietened, assuming naturally, that he was about to takeover and pep us up on what an important opportunity this was and how we should avoid f*cking it up. Instead, he turned to me and said ‘Okay Beth, where do you want me?’ Sometimes the greatest respect we can give a subordinate is the power to lead. It can be tempting to revoke the reins, particularly when something important hangs in the balance. Instead, try to show your team that you have confidence in their leader. This gives the staff member the respect they need to do a good job and the motivation to prove your trust was well placed.

 

What’s the best characteristic you’ve ever seen in a boss? Is there a piece of advice you think every leader should live by? Comment below and let us know.

Image via WeHeartIt


Beth Gladstone

Beth is a Writer and Digital Marketer who founded The Full Agenda as a place to talk about the things that kept her and her friends up at night. Currently working as a Marketing consultant to various SMEs she is a big fan of the startup market and loves technology, apps and anything social media related. When not obsessively checking Google Analytics, she can be found reading, writing or relaxing with a glass of Prosecco.

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