7 things to remember from before you were the boss

Remember the time when you weren’t the boss?

You might look back at that time with fondness. A time when you didn’t have as many responsibilities and could leave work happy in the knowledge that you didn’t have to think about it again until the following morning.

A time when if you made a mistake there would be someone above you to take a lot of the slack, and although you might not get off altogether scott free it certainly wasn’t as painful as it is now.

And a time when all you had to worry about was getting your own work done, and not ensuring that other people were productive as well.

Yes, those were the days…but what did we learn that we can use now?

1. Your boss mattered

You might have had a fantastic boss, or a rubbish one, but either way their behaviour mattered.

What to do:  Role model the way. Think about how you behave at work, and the power of your actions. Everything you do matters to someone.

2. You wanted to get noticed

When you’re working in a team you can sometimes go un-noticed, especially if it’s a really busy department. Those brief morning chats or one to one meetings were important for you to get in front of your boss without any interruptions.

What to do: Spend time talking to your team, even if it’s just about what they did at the weekend as these chats build relationships and trust. It’s also important that you keep 1-1 meetings and not cancel them. By constantly re-arranging you’re sending a message that they’re not important to you.

 3. You wanted to be trusted

When you want to get on in your career you need someone to take a chance on you, to believe in you and to trust you. Your boss is the person that you need to do just that.

What to do: Get to know your team. What are their strengths? What can you do to develop them? Support them to grow.

4. It’s not easy working your way up

The old saying you don’t know what you don’t know is so true, and often we don’t feel as though we can be honest about future aspirations, so we really needed our boss to ask the right questions.

What to do: Spend time in 1-1 meetings asking questions so that you can really get to know your team member. What do they enjoy about their role? Where do they see themselves? What would they like to learn? Give them support to achieve their goals

5. You knew how to do your job

You were hired because you could do the job. Remember what it was like when someone looked over your shoulder every two minutes?

What to do: Empower your team. It can be difficult to let go and step back sometimes, but trust them to do a good job, whilst showing them that you’re there for support if they need it.

6. You had a life outside of work

You weren’t a manager, so you didn’t have the responsibility of a manager, or the pay grade. So, yes you wanted to leave work on time to do other things.

What to do: Great teams give and take. By understanding that your team need to leave on time and giving them the flex to do that, you’ll reap the rewards when you really need them to put the hours in

7. You needed a mentor

A person to nudge you in the right direction, show you how to behave and to develop and grow you. A role model.

What to do: Be there for your team. Share your experiences, and your stories, and give them the opportunities and if possible the introductions that will enable them to succeed.


Think back to your own experiences before you had ‘manager’ in your title. What did you learn?




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