When I became a department head, I received a list of job obligations. I scurried to finish inventory, book orders, novel selections, and new hires. My supervisor had provided me with a job description, and I had been teaching for twenty years, so I jumped right into the job, for a while.
Then I looked up one day and saw twenty- two English teachers needing my guidance and direction. There existed no handbook on how to handle, guide, comfort, and correct the twenty- two teachers. I had not attended a touch-feely weekend camp with bonding games and venting sessions by a bon fire. I learned much from my time as department head on how to be a boss who I would want for a boss. Five lessons stand out the most.
Don’t Change Everything Immediately No matter the circumstances for your promotion, I doubt everything was broken (unless you are the Miami Dolphins) at your work place. Do not start throwing out the good with the bad. I made some of my best moves by simply watching. If necessary, I would jump in with a small adjustments and changes. Slow, methodical changes seemed to have the best results during my tenure.
Delegate Most people want to play a part in the day to day operations of a team. Observe and discover the strengths of your people. Then put them in charge of those areas. People want to be appreciated and they want to have a sense of ownership.
Be Prepared to Lose Some Battles Battles may be a strong word, but if you get your way every time– A) people will resent you and B) you are not be listening to the group. If your idea is always the best, something is wrong with the team.
Praise, Praise, Praise If everyone is happy, the productivity will be at its best. People smile when you praise them, and smiles are contagious. There will be some people who are never happy, be prepared for those. But most will respond in a positive manner to your praise.
Don’t Be Scared to Say You Made a Mistake You are human. Embrace your humanity. Learn from your errors. Some errors lead to the absolute best new ideas. Along with this rule, goes apologizing. I apologized when needed and people loved it.
I am in a new position at my school this year, so I am no longer the department head. I enjoyed my time as department chair, but I am moving on to new adventures. I absolutely swear by these rules and implementing them made me a better person.
These adages seem simple, but I can count on my hand two bosses who actually did all five of these things( I have been in the work force for over thirty years). I know these rules are not a cure all–some people won’t work, some people won’t smile, and some people may have to be fired. But these adages will help you be an effective boss 99% of the time. I promise.