I recently saw a status update on Facebook that went something like this:
Act like a lady, think like a man, work like your boss.
While acting like a lady is something I am constantly trying to do (just ask anyone about my high level of modesty and if you aren't my significant other, sibling or close friend, you won't hear off color comments coming out of my mouth). I think you could go as far as to just act appropriately. Chew your food with your mouth closed, put the smart phone down in meetings, and other similar things that keep those around y0u from wishing you had called in sick that day.
Thinking like a man probably won't get me anywhere. I think like me. Thinking like I do has propelled me pretty far down a path I rather like, so there is no way I'm even going to consider changing the way I think. How does a man think anyway? Who wrote that? It's silly.
Now, working like your boss, that's the golden ticket. It's a pretty fair assumption that your boss likes the way they work. They like their output, they like their style of work and they like what they accomplish. While they don't expect everyone to be like they are (at least, we hope they acknowledge that fact that everyone works differently from one another), they might wish that those around them at least kept up with their speed.
I've used my bosses as models, if you will, of how I need to work. My job might be similar to theirs or vastly different depending on the day of the week, but I want the quality of my work to at least be something they don't have to dwell on. If they aren't dwelling on me at the end of the day, then I'm doing something right. If I work for someone who is the most detailed oriented person I know, then I need to be one step ahead of them and have every single thing figured out before they ever have to involve themselves. If they are the best editor/proof reader in the company, I guarantee you that I'll have 4 people check over my work before I ever submit it to them. If they are one to follow up with me on a project a day after it's assigned, I promise you that I'll have my details and plan laid out the night before.
It's how I work and it works very well for me. It isn't the degree pictured above that has me sitting where I am looking down the path I gaze at every day, it's how I work. I also look beyond my boss for examples to model my work style after. Who have I met within the industry that impress me? What can I take away from each of those encounters? What attributes make up the perfect employee? While I'll never be perfect, I will try my hardest to get there.
I think many times people fall back on their bosses as someone up on a pedestal. These bosses work long hours because they are paid more (ask me about how many LONG hours I worked before I was ever a boss). They have been around longer so they are there to check/correct what you do. It shouldn't be that way. Shouldn't you want your boss to see you as capable of doing it on your own or with your peers? Will you be given more assignments and ladder climbing projects if it means they are going to have to spend more time on your other projects?
So, ladies and gentlemen, I challenge all of you to work more like your boss. My goal this week will be pinpointing new ways to challenge myself to be 2 steps ahead of mine. What is your goal? If you're your own boss, who do you look to for work style inspiration?
Now for my disclaimer. As a boss and as someone who has a great boss, I know that that dynamic makes an excellent team. It isn't a hands off relationship. However, the relationship should be about moving forward and creating some amazing projects, not trying to figure out what went wrong.