In this blog [BE your own boss] I wrote a few years ago, I talked about the importance of being your own boss if you are going to work for yourself. By that I mean you need to actually BE the boss – manage yourself, and hold yourself to account for all the things that you are being paid to do in the business. Even if, for now, that’s everything!
And I think I missed a couple of points back then – some things that have become clear as my thinking about the whole Joyful Genius concept has matured.
The first is that, as the boss, we are also responsible for ensuring our staff (for now, you, in all the roles you play) are happy and fulfilled in their work. In the previous blog I did touch on the need to inspire the “team”, but I now believe the boss’s role goes beyond that – it is also to ensure that each team member gets to utilise their unique Joyful Genius as much of the time as possible, and as fully as possible.
And the second thing I would change about the job description of “Boss” is that bosses need to take responsibility for agreeing with their team what work is going to take priority, and what constitutes reasonable hours to be working. I was speaking to a client the other day, and we were talking about the ‘last man standing’ culture in some offices – where no-one goes home before the boss, and late-night working is seen as a mark of commitment. I pointed out that good bosses are actively put off by employees who need to work beyond normal hours, because it generally means the team member is not good at prioritising their work effectively, and not able to identify when they are over capacity and ask for help.
This happens all the time to solopreneurs (or one man bands if you prefer a less pretentious title). They simply do not take the time to differentiate between tasks that must be done, and those that are ‘nice-to-haves’. So they work stupidly long hours, doing work they dislike and are no good at – and eventually they burn out. Just like their corporate counterparts, there is no honour in working hard – it’s just a symptom of poor prioritisation.
Don’t get me wrong – if you work for yourself, you are going to have to put in longer hours than an effective employee. But you must make those hours effective. When there is no overtime bill, and more importantly no manager who has to sign off on it, it’s easy for Parkinson’s Law to kick in – you know, the one that says that a task will expand to fill the time allocated for its completion.
So I now have two questions for you:
Where are you not allowing yourself to step into the full magnificence of your genius, because you have given yourself other tasks that you are not really suited to? What could you do about that?
How much of your time are you spending in ‘Flow’, using your genius, and how much is spent on stuff that is just boring – or worse, unnecessary? And what could you do to adjust the balance?
Please share your ideas in the comments below, I’d love to hear them.