Carolyn’s Update: I first wrote this piece last October, but ever since have had the nagging feeling that there was a role missing among the three listed — the Entrepreneur, the Manager and the Technician. Having worked with a number of Entrepreneurs who are in the trenches on a daily basis, and hearing them speak of their daily struggle to keep it all going and to stay sane, I realized that this model needs another entity mixed in, one that I’ll call “GURU.”
Guru is the one that’s going to ask the tough questions or point out the simple answers that are right in front of you. Sometimes Guru is going to tell you to get really quiet and listen to what your gut is telling you. Very often, Guru is going to tell you to get some rest, because the Guru knows how to see beyond all the chaos. So as you read this piece, add in the role of GURU to the mix, and I think you’ll find it a much more complete team!
“Craziest Boss You’ll Ever Have”
You know the type – one moment envisioning a grand, bright and beautiful future, the next moment, having a panic attack because you’re not meeting your deadlines, and then the next, vanishing for the weekend, only to be found hiding in a café finishing that research … or simply reading a really good book!
That’s right. It’s that crazy boss of yours, and every day you wonder how on earth she ever got the job.
Well, I have a secret to share with you.
It’s your fault she has the job.
Because your crazy boss is YOU!
Think about it. Who is the dreamer who gets excited about each new vision for your life? Who is the manager who creates and lives by the plan to make it happen? And who is the doer who just wants to focus on the business of living? What happens every time the dreamer in you comes up with something new? Does the manager flip out because now you’re off track? And the doer – does she just want to finish what she’s working on?
It’s your very own 3-headed monster, and it’s not so different from the three-way battle that Michael Gerber describes in his classic book, The E-Myth Revisited. In it, Gerber writes of a business owner’s classic conflict between The Entrepreneur, The Manager and The Technician. These three roles are critical to running a business, yet they are roles that are in perpetual conflict, and in many cases, roles that exist within the single entity of the business owner!
Here are some brief definitions from the text – as you read them, consider the parallels to your own work and life. Think about which role is your dominant one, as well as the situations that allow the other two to show up:
“The Entrepreneur is our creative personality – always at its best dealing with the unknown, prodding the future, creating probabilities out of possibilities, engineering chaos into harmony.”
“The Manager personality is pragmatic. Without the manager there would be no planning, no order, no predictability.”
“The Technician is the doer. The Technician loves to tinker. Things are supposed to be taken apart and put back together again. Things aren’t supposed to be dreamed about, they’re supposed to be done. ..As long as the Technician is working, he is happy.”
“Put another way, while the Entrepreneur dreams, The Manager frets, and The Technician ruminates.”
Source: The E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work and What to Do About It, by Michael Gerber (New York: HarperCollins, 1995).
So what can you do to start managing this multiplexity?? (Yes, I made that up…)
- Get your crazy boss out of the closet. Even admitting that it exists is a big step!
- Give your boss a voice. Consider journaling from the point of view of your entrepreneur, then manager, then technician. The point is to get to know your crazy boss in all its glory.
- Give your crazy boss a performance review. If you feel like your boss has been making some questionable decisions on your behalf, make a list of those decisions, as well as which persona made each one. Rate each decision according to how well it has supported your greater work/life vision. See which persona has served you best and give it a raise!
- Give your boss a vacation. At the same time, if one persona has been running the show for too long, give it some time off so that you can explore how life works with the other two.
Give your boss time to grow on you. Remember that none of the personae are absolutely wrong. Identifying how they operate is the first step towards intentionally and effectively flexing between the different roles as you continue to steer the course of your crazy life!
Crazy with you,