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Horrible Bosses

58842030-Dan+Weedin+%22Unleashed%22-30I was skimming through Facebook one recent Friday a few weeks ago and came across a very brief but telling comment by a person I know as an entrepreneur. It read, “Weekend? I’m self-employed. There’s no such thing.”

If you’re self-employed, an entrepreneur or a business owner and you believe this to be true, then I have four words for you…

You’re a horrible boss! You’re doing something wrong. And, you need to change it if you ever want to maximize your talents, skills and value to others.

You started a business or a practice because you wanted to control your own direction and outcomes in life. Why is it that you would treat yourself worse than anyone else that you might employ?

I don’t know what purpose the author of the statement on Facebook had for making it. Suffice it to say, that I’ve heard this proclamation many times and admit at times in the past have made it myself. What I’ve learned and implemented in my life has come from work with my own mentor to the betterment of my business and personal life. Allow me to share with you my thoughts on identifying and exterminating this dangerous myth.

How do you know you’re afflicted? Do any of these look familiar:

• You resign yourself to the fate of working late into the night or on weekends to stay “caught up.”

• Through your actions, you demonstrate that working “hard” is better than working “smart.”

• You hold up working long hours as some badge of honor. In fact, you love this badge so much that you post it on your social media that you’re working late hours and weekends!

• You don’t consider taking time off during the week just for yourself because of how it might look to others.

• You start losing the passion you once had for your craft because it now has become a “job,” rather than a vocation.

If any of these resemble or sound like you, you have Horrible Boss Syndrome. There are more telltale signs to this malady, but I don’t have enough room in this column to share them. Let’s use the rest of the space I have to offer you solutions. Here are my Top 7 Ways to purge Horrible Boss Syndrome:

1. Consider yourself a peer. That’s right; consider yourself a peer of yourself! Too often, Horrible Bosses think they are unskilled labor and perform tasks and activities below their talent level. This starts with a mindset of abundance, rather than one of scarcity.

2. Delegate. Once you’ve convinced yourself you’re a peer, now you have to unload those tasks and activities. That means delegate. Delegate work that is beneath your skill level, above your skill level (e.g. bookkeeping and web design), or that you just don’t like doing.

3. Uncover discretionary time. We all have time in our day to unburden our mind. Get away from your desk and take a walk, read a magazine, run to the café for a coffee, or hit the gym for a quick workout. If you don’t allow your mind to breathe, especially during the day, you will burn out. On days I’m in my office, I force myself to change my activity about every 90 minutes to do just this.

4. Just say NO. Politely decline requests from others to do things or join committees that you don’t have a passion for or simply don’t want to allocate your valuable time to. Stop feeling guilty or obligated. If it doesn’t make sense for you at this time in your life, just say no.

5. Say goodbye. If you’re currently involved in something that is mentioned above, be strong enough to leave. Being active in a role that requires your time and labor intensity and that has become a burden only makes your life more taxing. My guess is all of you have at least one of these. How much time can you free up?

6. Reward yourself. You undoubtedly reward your employees and your clients for work well done or for thanks. How about you? When was the last time you rewarded yourself for doing even small things?  Create a list of small rewards to pat yourself on the back when you do well. Horrible Bosses are demeaning in their language (check your own internal words) and Great Bosses offer rewards and kudos.

7. No Unsolicited Advice. Solicit advice from those people you trust and want advice from. Don’t allow others to give you their unsolicited opinions. It’s usually more for their benefit than yours. Unsolicited advice tends to lower your confidence, increase analysis paralysis, and increase your workload. Seek out those that have your best interest at heart and have the knowledge to help you improve, and discard all unwanted counseling.

Here’s a bonus thought for you to add to this list. Have fun. You put yourself in this position of being self-employed because you thought it would be fun. Whatever you’re doing should be a passion. It should provide you with joy and rewards. It should be FUN!

Take a few minutes after reading this to do an honest self-assessment. Are you exhibiting signs of Horrible Boss Syndrome? If you are, then resign from that wretched boss and find a new one that will encourage and reward you. The good news is that it’s the same person just with a different mindset, attitude, and charm.

© 2015 Toro Consulting, Inc. All rights reserved

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