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Think Like You're the Boss

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A security guy dreams that the plane his boss is supposed to take the next day is going to crash.

When he wakes up, he calls his boss at home and tells him. His boss decides not to take the plane.

Surely enough, the plane crashes. The relieved boss calls the young man to his office and gives him a reward. And then fires him. Slightly confused the man asks why. The boss replies, “You were sleeping on the job.”

There are good bosses and there are bad bosses. Most bosses I know try their best to be good, but the current working scenario simply cannot afford them the luxury. Let me explain.

How many among you believe that when your boss wakes up in the morning, he or she will be thinking: Let me see now...what can I do for my employees today?”

While my partners and I teach and train people on leadership skills, while we emphasize the importance of connecting with one’s people and inner circle in the workplace, while we shout “People will not go along with the leader unless they get along with the leader,” the fact remains: Even if your leader is as nice as he or she can be, nobody will care about your career more than you do. Well, with a few exceptions like, perhaps, your parents or your spouse.

What this means is that you have to take responsibility for managing your own career and never even for a moment consider leaving it to anyone else. Your bosses, your coworkers, your direct reports are mainly focused on themselves and their careers.

This is not to say that those around you at work are not interested in helping you succeed. But their own career trajectory, projects, and future promotions will be their main concern.

This is why you should start thinking like you’re the boss.

You are a company of one, “You Inc.,” as Tom Peters says. Start cultivating the mindset of a CEO, marketing manager, even an HR director. Or, perhaps, the head of product design and you be the talent coordinator, the agent representing yourself.

Start cultivating an employer’s mindset. The employee mindset will never get you ahead in life since it is merely compliant, while the employer mindset denotes commitment.

Job security today is a myth. No company is crazy enough to offer lifetime employment. Only you can guarantee yourself lifetime employability. International competition, mergers, and acquisitions have eradicated job security. But no company wants to lose good people.

Work stats in America reveal that the average working American will now have between 10 and 12 jobs and three to five careers during his or her lifetime.

Meanwhile, people across the board—including your boss, his or her boss, and the bosses of your bosses—are being asked to juggle more and more assignments, often combining the responsibilities of two or three people into one job.

Everyone knows the word multitasking. If your bosses are having a hard time making their own careers work, how can they have the time to take care of yours?

Knowing yourself is as important as knowing how to do your job.

Not only cows or cattle are branded. Ask the marketing experts. They will tell you that you yourself should build your own brand. A brand that says you are not only good at what you do, you are a master craftsman! You are reliable and trustworthy. You have the drive to succeed. And you have the leadership skills needed to help propel your people and your company to greater heights of success.

If you want to stay competitive and ahead of the game, keep your hard skills sharp. But work hard on your soft skills too. Making this happen is not your employer’s responsibility. It’s yours.

All things being equal, the person with a better attitude is always preferred over one who does not. The world does not owe you a living.

Your years of stay in a company should match your growth in skills and abilities. Seniority today is not a basis for getting ahead unless you have the necessary skills to show it. Self leadership is the key.
 

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