Whenever I need inspiration for a blog post, I check my LinkedIn feed. I am bound to find a stupid inspirational quote. Today’s is:
In most cases being a good boss means hiring talented people and then getting out of their way.
This advice (hire smart, don’t micromanage) is so simplistic, it’s hardly worth saying. The profound stupidity is equating this with “being a good boss“.
No, hiring smart people and not micromanaging them is the absolute, bare minimum you should be doing as a boss. Basically, if you call it a day there, you are a worthless, paper pushing, pointed headed body in a seat. If not today, then soon.
What are you doing once you get out of the way? Meetings? And how can you be sure you’re hiring good people, if you’re not closely engaged with the work? Should you offload that to your team? And then what is left to do as a “good boss“, by your definition?
In reality, where being a good boss is incredibly difficult and rare, being a good boss means:
- Earning trust, and learning to trust others.
- Improving how decisions are made.
- Making sure people are learning, challenged, and growing.
- Mediating business pressures with craftsmanship.
- Creating a greater context for the work of employees.
- Fighting fires and doing drudgery without becoming a bottleneck.
- A thousand other things that don’t make good motivational posters.
You work on these things every day. It’s slow and painful. There’s no secret algorithm or technique. You could take all of these cute little quotes about how to be a good boss, and it’d cover maybe 1% of what actually goes into being a good boss.