I was ALMOST sucked in.
I was loving the explanation of the program, the type of support I’d get, the results I’d see in my skills as a leader… and then they landed the kicker.
‘Yes, you get all of these amazing results for only $14,500, and we have payment plans!'
Oh for f*ck sakes.
(So in case you’re wondering how the story ends, no, I have not done said program)
Let me be very clear here: yes I am absolutely an advocate for investing in yourself and your skills (obviously), I have spent many thousands on my own career development.
And yes I’m quite confident I would have had an amazing experience and gotten some real transformational skills and learnings from this program.
But you DO NOT need to spend crazy amounts of money to become a better boss.
Look if you have the cash sitting around and want to take that crazy expensive program then hells yes, go for it.
But DO NOT hit ‘add to cart’ because you think it’s the ONLY way to become a better boss (and certainly don’t go into debt for it!).
What I’ve always found with myself, and the clients I work with, it’s the small day to day habits and behaviours that make (or break) you as a boss. And those you truly can get better at with a much smaller financial investment.
Here’s some of the top ways to get better as a boss (while not breaking the bank):
Join a Local Improv Class
Sounds weird but trust me! Being a leader demands that you’re able to think on your feet, stay in the present moment and truly LISTEN to the person across from you. And there’s no better way to easily practice listening skills than with an Improv class. Yes I realize it definitely doesn’t sound like fun for the introverts, but who knows, you might have a laugh or two as well as learning deep listening skills!
Get a Practice Buddy
Have some tough client feedback you have to give to a team member and sweating bullets? Grab another boss you trust and have a practice. Say it out loud to them, play with the wording a bit until you feel confident you are delivering the message you mean to deliver, while not totally crushing their confidence. A practice buddy is a great free way to think out loud and prepare for some of those tougher moments.
Your day to day habits are absolutely what makes you the Boss that you are. So start getting conscious of them. Start a list of 5 things you want to do daily or weekly that will make you a more impactful Boss - and actually track when you’re doing them. What you pay attention to and measure is where you’ll see growth and change, make this a priority and you might be amazed at not only what you notice about your default habits but also the positive changes your team starts to notice about you and how you lead.
(Not sure what new habits to try? Check out the Top 5 Morning Habits of the Best Bosses)
Easy one - grab a google doc, throw some questions in there about your boss impact and send it out to your team. Bonus points if you also send it to suppliers, contractors and potentially a client or two!
Now be careful here, keep in mind that feedback is ONLY people’s perspective, it is NOT objective reality, so think of it as useful data not facts about you and your personality.
(Not sure what to ask? Get in touch and I’ll send you a FREE 360 feedback Boss Template)
I know I know, this option seems a bit hippie for you. But you don’t have to wear birkenstocks and diffuse patchouli to appreciate this one, it’s all the rage in leadership programs in companies like Google, Apple, Nike, General Mills and even Goldman Sachs! Try a little challenge, download the Headspace App right now (no I'm not an affiliate), try it for a week and just notice what it's like to take those 10 minutes a day (yes that's all) and just inhale/exhale. This is going to help you with skills like resilience, patience, calm and empathy - all key Boss skills.
Telling your team - and PRACTICING
This is the biggest one I’ve seen make a huge impact… but a lot of bosses just aren’t comfortable with the vulnerability it requires.
This is a simple one: Tell your team what you’re working on.
Tell them you know you have some challenges with listening, or collaborating, or not bulldozing people into agreeing with you. Tell them that you’re working on it, how you’re working on it, and that you want their help. You’ll be asking for feedback from time to time and looking for them to give you insights into where they see you still doing this - and bonus points for telling you in the moment.
This is the absolute top way to get better as a Boss… might feel like the riskiest one on the list, but it’s also the one with the best chance of a big payout.
Ok Boss, what are you going to commit to trying to up your skills? Let me know in the comments or drop me an email!
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