Think Like You’re The Boss

February 12, 2011

A security man has a dream 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. Sure 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 then there are bad bosses. Most bosses I know try their best to be good but the current working scenario just could not afford them the luxury. This I will explain.

How many among you believe that as your boss wakes up in the morning he or she will be thinking: “Let me see now…..what can I do for you 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 work place, while we shout out the fact that “People will not go along with the leader unless they get along with the leader…..” The fact remains that even though your leader is as nice and magnanimous 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 co-workers, 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’s 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 and that is You Inc. as Tom Peters would say. Start cultivating the mindset of a CEO, marketing manager, HR director maybe. 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 person will never get ahead in life because he or she is merely compliant while the employer mindset person is committed.

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 the fact remains that no company want to lose good people. Work stats in America reveal that the average working American will now have between ten and twelve 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. Of course you know what this is called: “Multi-tasking.” They’re having a hard time making their own careers work so how can they have the time to take care of yours?

Knowing yourself is as important as knowing how to do the 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 in 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 and 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 have it. 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.

This Post Has 8 Comments

  1. Manuel Gascon

    What a timely reminder! As part of any group, company or organization, aspires to be on top, the mark of an excellence. to promote yourself. Joining the group is not just to gain for yourself but mainly for the benefit of the group as a whole for you yourself to remain within the group. As JFK said, ” DON’T THINK WHAT YOUR COUNTRY CAN DO FOR YOU BUT, THINK OF WHAT YOU CAN DO FOR YOUR COUNTRY.” Working hard counts as in praying hard, ” IT WORKS “. God bless us all…

  2. Ezekiel

    Great writing and will inspire people who will open up in having their personal branding of who there are as a person and as a company of YOU.

  3. Zara

    This made me remember what am i working for in a company. Not for myself but to the many as well. Everything starts in each of us, let us not be selfish in any way. Thanks for this post! =)

  4. Jef Menguin

    Tom Peters made the same advice to people. He said that you are your own company. Although you work in an organization, you are basically selling your services and expertise to the organization as You Inc.

    Michael Gerber talks about the difference of “working in a company” and “working on a company”. The first is an employee, someone who sold his hours. The second is the owner, and artist who make things happen.

    In my team building workshops, I talk about Malasakit. I believe Malasakit is as powerful a community concept as the African Ubuntu.

    I wrote an article recently, The World Does Not Owe You Anything, and I like to share this also with your readers. They can find the link here – . The world, or our company, is not responsible for us. We have the duty and obligation to make the life that we want.

    I hope that by sharing this, I am able to contribute to this discussion.

    Jef Menguin

  5. Sheila

    Thanks for the insipiring note! will share it with my colleagues.

  6. lamer bada

    PERFECT! love this post, Sir Francis!!! 🙂

  7. Cris Cleofas

    What a timely reminder for me. This is truly a very inspiring and awakening article. Thanks a lot. Sir Francis can u pls email me an article specifically about “Leadership”. i would appreciate it so much. Thanks again and more power.

Leave a Reply