Like a BOSS!

Eye rolls and underbreath comments, a quick glance to a co-worker as I walk away, I am certain that I have created little moments like this at our restaurant quite often. I am the ‘manager’ of a small family-owned bar and grill, we have a fantastic staff and awesome customers. There are lots of times however, that I am asking a person to put in more effort, or take on an unfun project, or to quit a habitual way of doing things.  This usually isn’t a people pleasing moment, and they may not like me right then.

I guess that I am the ‘boss’ of some people, but I really don’t look at it that way. I never take any pleasure in ordering someone around. I am however more committed to creating a great experience for customers at the restaurant, than I am with always being liked by my staff. Of course, I always prefer that our crew knows what needs done and executes it to our high standards without my reminding or persuading.

At least now that is how I view things.

I used to be on the other side of this coin. I have been the employee who felt victimized by the desires of my boss. I have certainly been one of those people who can pick apart and complain about the decisions, actions or lack of actions in my work environment. I have been there done that, for sure. Sometimes I find myself doing it these days at one of my jobs, where I’m not in charge.

Funny thing though, working both as employee and employer, something has become crystal clear. The times that I have a problem with things around me as an employee, have to do with my commitment level. Also, conversely, as a boss, all the things that I ask done by my staff, have to do with my personal commitment level to our business.

At the Brand’N Iron, on any given rush shift, I am the most committed person in the room to the success of that place. There are a few caveats to this statement. For one, our staff is VERY committed to doing a great job. I think we have the best staff of any restaurant around. Also, the commitments that I feel strongest about, are the things I act upon. This intangible bullet-point list may not house the same activities, or principals, values or offerings that all of our customers and team would agree with. I have my perfect mental vision of our place, and it surely doesn’t match everyone else’s.

When I am in employee mode, working as a graphic designer at Front Row Sports, I cannot possibly embody the same commitment, held by the owner himself, Dave Cox. When I have inner complaints bubbling up, they all come from a place of straddling and unsure commitment. As a team member there, I may have many of my own inner commitments competing with the needs of the business. I am not the most committed person there, it’s true and its inherent to the position.

I am not laying down judgements about the clarity I’m receiving with these two opposite ‘jobs’ of mine. I am however pointing out to myself the obvious. I will always be pushing for my commitments, wherever they may lead. I can’t expect anything less from everybody else. Sometimes the personal commitments between people or organizations can be stretched too far. When the deep held principals of two parties span a large gap from one end of the spectrum to the other, there is no way to keep them together. It just can’t continue to work anymore.

However, just the awareness that our ‘boss’ is the most committed guy or gal in the room can make a difference. I certainly can look back at my own working life of over twenty years and notice that I have worked for some fantastic, highly committed individuals. Some of them got waay more of my negative attitude and complainy reactions, than deserved. I have more respect now than ever, of those trying to manage a business, which is really managing people. Truly, people (especially like me) are the biggest challenge we face above all others.

I will somehow always see where my compass needle is pointing me in life. My deepest commitments will show up in my navigation log record, as the places where I stood with my two feet and the projects I gave my energy to, with my own two hands. The dreamworld out there of somedays and somehows won’t ever materialize without deep and almost undivided commitment.

Speaking of which, I’d better commit myself to heading to work right now!

Until next week…


Aaron Nichols

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