Thursday, January 15, 2015

Tips for Being a Good Boss: Recognize That You Are Now on Stage

In college, two roommates (Brian Gaspardo and Tony Khazen) and I ran the "Leverett House Grille" - a late-night, student-run pizza and burger joint for fellow students.  We sold pizza, burgers, fries, ice cream, milkshakes, and soda from 9pm-1am each weeknight.  We had a ton of fun, and we learned a great deal about how to manage a small business.  One day, a friend named Joanne Chang approached us with an idea.  An applied math and economics double major, Joanne loved to bake in her free time.  She offered to bake chocolate chip cookies that we could sell at the Leverett House Grille.  We split the profits.  

What happened to Joanne after graduation?  After a stint at Monitor Consulting, Joanne has gone on to become one of Boston's finest bakery chefs and a celebrated cookbook author.   Flour Bakery and Cafe, which she founded and manages, has four locations in greater Boston.  She also co-owns Myers + Chang, an Asian restaurant located in downtown Boston.   Her two cookbooks became national bestsellers, and her third book will be released later this year.  In 2013, Joanne was honored as a prestigious James Beard Award nominee.  Joanne is a terrific chef, but she's also proven to be a highly successful entrepreneur and business leader.  This week, Fortune featured a column about Joanne.  In the article, Joanne offers five tips on being a good boss.  They are all great tips.  I especially loved Tip#4: 

4. Recognize that you are now on stage.
As the boss, it’s no longer all about you—your focus is on everyone around you. Everything you say and do is being watched by the staff and seen as having a stamp of approval. Your role is to tackle every single day with optimism, focus, determination and a dedication to providing your team with whatever they need to succeed at their jobs. When I was first a boss, if I had was having a bad day I would get quiet and withdrawn. Bakers would nervously ask me if I was mad at them, and I realized that I couldn’t be in a bad mood and not have them think they had done something wrong. Don’t be insincere or fake…but keeping a game face on as a boss is crucial to ensuring a stable team.

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