The girl bosses we admire—Beyoncé, Hillary, Sheryl Sandberg, Sophia Amoruso and the like—didn’t get to where they are by sitting back and waiting for opportunity to arrive. They created it for themselves and, in doing so, made their wildest dreams come true. As a result they likely realized, and will continue to realize, that life’s not always easy at the top but that doesn’t mean it’s not worth the climb. Here, eight truths about life as a leader that all boss b*tches understand.
The Truth About Being A Girl Boss
Nobody is good at everything, which is why it makes sense to hire people who are strong where you are weak. Those who are afraid of being found out as not knowing something, and who only hire those who know even less than they do, are not likely to succeed long term.
We have a friend who recently sold her company for tens of millions of dollars. She gives this advice on the subject, "You only have 168 hours in the week to get everything in life done. Spending more than five minutes thinking about the opinions of people who aren't your clients or customers is a waste of time." Jealousy does weird things to people—the more whispers you hear, the more likely it is that you're crushing it.
Even if you're a good boss, you're a boss, which means you control the work lives of other people. As a result, you may be disliked, not as a human but as an employer. This can be a tough transition, but remember—it's more important to be respected than it is to be liked. (This is generally true in life, regardless of whether or not you're anyone's boss.) That said, the best bosses know that if all their employees dislike them, they're doing something wrong. Respect and adoration are not always mutually exclusive.
Occasionally, someone slips upward through the ranks due to luck, nepotism or dubious means. This, however, is the exception rather than the rule when it comes to leaders. Those at the top generally worked exceptionally hard to get there and, in some cases, took risks others wouldn't have taken.
When you're the founder of a startup, servant leadership is generally unavoidable—you're helping to affix shipping labels to new orders because your company only employs three people and otherwise it's not going to get done. Even when the company grows, or when you become someone who manages people within an established company, this can be an incredibly helpful ethos to hold to. Showing your employees that you're not above what you're asking them to do builds trust and enables enthusiasm for tasks that may not otherwise be appealing. As Sophia Amoruso wrote in #GIRLBOSS, "The #GIRLBOSS who is willing to do a job that is below her—and above—is the one who stands out."
It's hard to be the decision maker every day of the week, and sometimes you wish you could just say, "I don't know" and take a two-hour lunch break. You may even find yourself waxing nostalgic for the early days of your career, wherein you were simply tasked with executing the orders of others. This is when it becomes incredibly helpful to have a mentor who you can lean on every so often when you just want to ask someone else for once.
Unless you're a lawyer or a doctor, or in some other field with a prescribed path to the top, there's a good chance your ascent to girl boss took some crazy, unforeseen twists and turns. While you may have had goals or dreams that fueled your decisions along the way, you likely found yourself presented with opportunities you hadn't looked for or expected. You also likely took detours that seemed dubious at the time but that played a large part in landing you where you are today. It's important to acknowledge that your path is your own. Trying to mimic others and comparing yourself to where they are is a surefire way to make choices that aren't right for you and that will ultimately set you back.
This is our favorite quote as of late (via Henry Ford), and it’s something all girl bosses know to be true. While the perks of being the top dog are nice, it’s really the process of getting there that adds texture and depth to your life. In other words, while hustling to ascend to power in your career field is more difficult than, say, inheriting a windfall, the ultimate rewards from both are not comparable.