How to be a Boss *Literally*
Let’s rewind. One year ago, I was an intern at a local start-up learning all there is to know about small business and digital marketing. Today, I still work at that same company but hold a very different title with a new set of responsibilities. You could say I climbed the ladder a bit. Now I have an amazing intern and oversee all things marketing and communications. If I can be honest, that is always a weird subject for me. But if one thing is for sure, it is that I hope whatever knowledge I can share from my experience benefits others to pursue their “greater.” I am a just twenty-one-year-old college student trying to figure life out, but I’d like to invite you along for the journey.
I have some incredible news for you—your “greater” can begin right now. Start by asking yourself some questions:
- What resources do you have available to you right now?
- What are things you can do to start taking steps toward your goal right now?
- Who is in your community and what kind of influence do you have right now?
- What conversations can you begin to have right now?
Leverage your current season of life as a learning opportunity. Whatever your answers are to these questions, here are five practical steps you can take to move towards your greater, even at an early age.
1. ALWAYS MAKE YOURSELF AVAILABLE
Let’s be real—when you’re an intern or a new hire, you’re at the bottom of the ladder. The good news is, it’s only up from there! So, make yourself available for anything and everything. If your boss stays late, you stay late. If your boss needs someone to do a project, volunteer your time to help. Whatever monotonous, life-sucking task presents itself, take it and do it to the best of your ability. Holding such standards will inevitably get you noticed.
2. FIND A NEED AND FILL IT
Don’t wait for someone to present you with a task. Always look for ways to be proactive at whatever level you may be at. Personally, I am constantly creating tasks for myself and then getting to work. This often looks like thinking of a new way to market a product or simply putting together a studio playlist for the team to jam to. Whatever it is, being proactive will only lead to positive outcomes.
3. JUST ASK
This is my personal favorite. Having a “just ask” mentality is what helped me land an incredible internship that turned in to my dream job. There are so many people/employers/mentors out there waiting for someone to “just ask.” Maybe you ask for an informational interview, or maybe you ask for an internship or job. Maybe you ask for something as simple as getting coffee and talking about life. The important thing is that you just ask. There are so many worse things in life than someone telling you “no,” (like never asking and never doing what you really love, to name a few).
4. STAY ONE STEP AHEAD
Make sure that your boss (or the person you answer to) never has to ask for an update on you. Be transparent about everything you are doing and everything you plan to do. Keeping your boss cc’ed on emails and updated on your work life creates trust within that relationship. This also gives you an opportunity to put the crazy cool ideas you’re dreaming up on their radar. You can’t over-communicate.
5. MAINTAIN YOUR HUMILITY
Congrats! Now you have achieved all-star level and can successfully take on the world. Just remember, when you’re in the workplace and absolutely killing it, it is so important to maintain humility. One of the most harmful mistakes you could make to your career or reputation is to act like you know it all. Or even worse, you could dismiss advice or direction from someone else who has your well being in mind. Always seek to learn and grow. This journey that we are on requires humility to learn and a desire to continue growing. Part of staying humble is always looking to take people with you. Never harbor success for yourself. Take as many people with you as you can, it’s much more fulfilling anyway.
Again, I am by no means a professional in any sense, but I hope that these tips can help you reach your “greater.” We all have goals and aspirations, but we don’t have to wait for a degree or more experience to start pursuing them. You can start right now.
About the Author
Madison is a senior majoring in Entrepreneurship with a love for creating and a desire to see all things and people reach their full potential. She is also the Director of Communications at Minny + Paul, a Twin Cities start-up! Find them on Instagram @minnyandpaul or online at minnyandpaul.com.