Don’t forget the boss is human too

Here’s another tale from one of my random conversations with the boss.

In my experience, successful organisations tend to have good leaders at the helm. And those leaders create an environment where employees feel they are making a difference, are valued, supported, and are developing.

In these organisations there are good checks and balances in place to make sure everyone is well supported to perform, development needs are understood and met, and people are feeling energised doing things they love.

Here’s the thing though. When I say ‘everyone’, I’m not sure that is entirely true. Who looks out for the boss?

I mean the big boss. The one where the buck stops. In their selfless leadership they make sure everyone else is getting what they need. And we go about our business, often oblivious to what goes on in the life of the boss to create the environment we work in. And we are all grateful for them looking out for us.

But again, who looks out for the boss?

This really hit home to me recently. I asked Lesley to join me for a call with a potential new client who had approached us to help them think through their growth options. They are an unusual business in that they are effectively a spin out from a Local Authority. They provide marketing and communications support to public sector organisations. Their growth options are interesting. As are the CEO and COO we talked to. They are smart, ambitious, full of energy, and also just really nice guys.

What struck me afterwards was the energy and excitement I saw in Lesley. It wasn’t the energy and excitement that was odd. I have seen it many times. It was just that I hadn’t seen it at that level for a while.

I realised then how much she loves those sort of conversations. She is inquisitive, creative, and genuinely interested in new challenges people are facing. I also realised she has been so focussed on making sure everyone else was OK and enjoying their work that she didn’t have as much time for the things she really enjoys. So who is looking out for the boss?

I now make a point of trying to share the load of the ‘less exciting’ tasks that just keep the business purring along, and getting her involved in more of the things I know she loves. She gets enjoyment from the type of work that she wants everyone else to have, and I get the benefit of her input in areas she is brilliant at.

My question to you, irrespective of who your boss is - how are they? Are they getting out of work what they want? Have you asked? Can you help? Many of us have benefitted from great leadership through the pandemic. Let’s make sure we return the favour. They are only human after all.

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