Contractors come in many shapes and sizes. I deal with all kinds of personalities in my line of work, but I typically find that bosses, and when I say bosses, I mean owners, usually fall into a few categories. See if you can find yourself below along with tips on how you can work better with your team.
The first type of boss is the visionary, the Steve Jobs type
The boss who wants to change the world one brick at a time. If you are this type of boss, you have pie in the sky aspirations but don’t really know how to put it all together. You need a strong team around you to help get focused and get shit done.
You want your team to dive right into projects, come up with different options to help achieve strategic goals and pay attention to key goals. That way, they can temper your head in the clouds approach to running the business.
The second type is the cheerleader/coach
This boss is going to motivate the work out of you. If you are this boss, you probably grew up in the business and you know all the minute details it takes to get the job done. Your team, on the other hand, think you are a pain in the ass because you don’t let them do their jobs. You are always standing on top of them telling them how you want it done, how you would do it, or why they are doing it wrong.
You want your team to be open and honest with you, to tell you to get the hell out of the way and let them get the job done THEIR way, which can still be the right way, just not your way. Your team should also be able to work independently once the task is assigned. Don’t worry, they will take responsibility for the outcome, but you are just gumming up the works. If they don’t know how to do the job, that’s one thing. If they do, coach them up to a certain point then let them be!
The boss by committee
If this is the type of boss you are, you look for group decisions and input from everyone involved. This has a positive effect on most outcomes since getting buy-in during the decision-making stage gives your team “ownership” of the project and a higher likelihood that they will accomplish their goal.
The downside is this; you take too long to make a decision, you take EVERYONE’S input into account and never actually get shit done. Give your opinions in meetings, listen to your team, get closer to your answer by getting as much clarity as you can, then MAKE A CHOICE!
This is the one I run into most often. If you are this type of boss, you’ve probably spent some time in a uniform where the chain of command and top-down leadership mean something. You think you should never be questioned about your decisions and your word is gospel.
The upside to being the general is that it doesn’t take you long to decide, right or wrong. You take action. But you also don’t take input from your team to heart either. You rule with an iron fist because YOU KNOW HOW YOU WANT IT.
You’d be better off asking for team collaboration and sharing clear strategic ideas with your team for feedback. You’d also save money by avoiding costly mistakes and high turnover of good staff who don’t want to put up with your bullshit anymore.
A lot of times your marketing comes down to the software side of the house, your people. Be a good boss and watch what happens.