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How often have you heard, ‘it’s not my job!’… or … ‘it’s up to my leader to take care of that, I am not the boss!’ 

Have you actually said something similar yourself? 

Stop using “I am not the boss” as an excuse! In any organisational chart, there are ‘bosses’ and then more ‘bosses. Your boss is not, in fact, the boss, because they too have a boss, and their boss is not the boss because they too have a boss and so it goes…

Technically everyone is the boss. Let me explain. You are the boss of your domain in the workplace. You’re responsible for your role and the outcomes you want to achieve.

The fact is, that we all have a part to play, and if we really want to shift or change a specific aspect of the workplace, we cannot wait for someone else to come up with the ideas. What if you take the lead, like a ‘boss’ and see what you can create?

It’s all about the boss hustle…

It is as simple as this: Commit yourself 100% to make the shift you need to make, declare yourself the ‘one’ and accept full accountability for changing things around, focus on the outcome you want to create, with consistency and determination … yes, in spite of whatever obstacles come your way.

There is an entertaining and inspiring TED talk – called ‘From a lone nut to a leader’ – it’s all about how to start a movement. At the beginning there is a lone nut (a leader) having the ‘courage’ to go out there and dance up a storm. Then you see another individual joining this leader who had the courage to also put themselves out there. The ‘follower’ jumps in to join this dance movement, then you progressively see a few more individuals joining the group … and then there is a tipping point, a certain threshold, whereupon, suddenly and magically, what they’re doing becomes a trend, and it’s almost uncomfortable not to be part of the movement. This is momentum in action!

As good as it is going to get?

If we just accept our workplace as the ‘norm’ and we have decided that there is no other option, we put up with it, regardless of how we feel. Other people tell us – ‘You have an income, you’re lucky to be employed’. So, we respond by working hard, head down and bottom up. And we stay stuck in patterns of thinking that make us too afraid to challenge the status quo and stand in our truth, even though we know deep down inside of us, there could be a better way. We stop ourselves because we are not the boss!

On the other hand, you might be one of those individuals who is part of a collective who are fed up with what they are doing but they don’t know where to begin to instigate change. They are ready to start something fresh, but don’t know what, because they are lost in the ‘norm’.

Be the change you want to see…

To be honest, ‘boss’ is just a title. And in fact, the ultimate power and authority to create a movement and make a difference starts with you! Instead of hindering your decisions because of hierarchy, process, policies and procedures, you can have direct influence on any outcome.

If you are inspired, proud and motivated, others will catch on and just like the lone nut, they will join the trend, and this is how you transform a culture. Why wait for the boss when you are the boss?

Don’t be disappointed if people refuse to help…

Albert Einstein believed that he should be thankful to all those who said “NO” … “Because of them, I did it myself!” he says.

Of course, it can be thoroughly overwhelming when there is an increase of work, lack of resources and high expectation. You feel like you are just getting by, hanging on a fine string and making it through every day, losing hope with continual empty promises.

But guess what? You can do something about it! Because the power to change lies within you.

Try this when you feel ‘overwhelmed’: Firstly, write a list of all the things that are expected from you. And then think like a ‘boss’! Consider what you can delegate … and when you do, empower your colleagues and team mates to help you out!

Secondly, write a list of things that are in your control and work with that. Anything NOT in your control, ditch altogether.  Stay focused. This is way more productive than worrying about things you can’t possibly change or influence.

It’s not up to your boss to make your workplace a source of ‘inspiration’ – that’s your job. You could have the most inspiring leader on the planet but if you sit and wait for them to make a move before you make yours … you could be waiting a lifetime. You are totally responsible and accountable for your happiness and it is up to you to take the steps towards the change.

Dwelling on your boss’s inadequacies…

I am sure we have all experienced what it can be like to focus on what our boss is not doing. Because it’s easy to become fixated on their inadequacies, easier to blame, and easier to feel like a victim. But guess what? The more we focus on what they are not doing, the less motivated and engaged we become. Is that ‘thinking like a boss?’ NO!

Take a considered approach – if your boss is lacking (and he/she is only human after all) … then fill the gap! You can role-model the behaviour you prefer, to make up the lack – instead of complaining about it. The trick is tolerance and positivity.

Connect to create change…

We’re all likely to become disheartened and disengaged if we don’t feel valued or heard or supported. And the problem with many large organisations is that they’re incredibly task-oriented – focused on the ‘to do’ list, taking various actions and ticking boxes. Because these are easy to measure. The ultimate sacrifice in many workplaces though with this approach is the personal interaction which is so incredibly important to nurture. Because connection and communication are the foundations of good team work.

But the bottom line is that YOU have a choice. Every day. You can be the change you want to see …. If you just stop tolerating negativity and start positive conversations, focus on solutions rather than the problems. If the workplace is toxic then seek to start conversations about it – get people to understand that no one changed anything by getting stuck in it and continually complaining about it – motion forward is the only way to create fresh, new thinking. Step by step, you’ll garner support and you will make a difference.