Don’t Boss Me


The internet is filled with articles telling me what I “should” be doing and what I “need” to be doing. Everything from how I need to manage my employees, how I should handle my relationships and how I should unplug during a vacation. While I appreciate the unsolicited advice and feedback being offered, I realize that not every bit of advice makes sense for my situation. As HR professionals, we are constantly telling our managers what they need to do to be a better manager. We tell our employees how they should behave. While our intentions may be good, our approach and tone may not get our desired result. 

I recently took a family vacation. Before the vacation, I read a few articles on the importance of unplugging and how I needed to unplug to enjoy myself. The thought of this stressed me out. Not because I felt I was addicted to technology, but because I relied on my phone for information. 

On this vacation, I used my phone to access great apps, like TripAdvisor, to find great places to eat. I updated “Untappd” to track all the unique craft beers I tried, after all, I was on vacation. I occasionally updated my social media feeds, all vacation related, and used my camera phone to capture some of the best times we had as a family. I sent a few emails to family and loved ones, but I consciously unplugged from work email. I consciously ignored all HR related articles. I unplugged from agendas and let things happen in the moment. Contrary to all of the articles I read, I had the most stress-free and relaxed vacation I’ve had in 10 years. I unplugged from what I felt would give me the best chance to relax and enjoy time with my family. 

Is work your stress? Unplug from work email and all things work. Your family driving you crazy? Unplug from them. Unplugging is different for everyone and only they can define what it is. I’m happy I didn’t listen to what all of these “need to do” articles told me. 

There is great content on managing employees, employee engagement, and how to manage GenZ, but it doesn’t mean I should do what they say. I view them as options and I make the choice to use it how I see fit for my situation.

As leaders, we can provide options for our employees. We can make decisions we feel are best to get our desired outcome. We can tell them that they need to do something this way or they should do something that way. We also realize, though, that we don’t get to choose how that employee reacts. We hope this drives the right outcome and desired results, but we cannot control it. And just because we got our desired outcome from past experiences, doesn’t mean we will get the same, this time. We can only control our actions and our message and then be prepared for things to not go as we want them to go. That is the beauty of working with humans.

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