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Yael Cohen Headshot

Learning How to Be the Boss

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These days being your own boss is like being Charlie Sheen's psychotherapist; everyone wants it, but we don't exactly know why. When I started FCancer, along with a plethora of awesome, scary and interesting responsibilities; I became 'the boss'. I didn't think twice about what this meant. Just over a year later, I think about it every day.

Things I've learned:

1. Your Style Isn't the Only Style
I am a fast-paced, unemotional worker. If I can say it in three words ("Not good enough."), why say more? "Great" doesn't mean sarcastic "great," it means "You're the best; I love what you've done with this task and so appreciate you being part of the team". But, in my own way. I now know I need to talk the same language as each member of the team. There are some teamsters who speak "Yael" and some who need me to speak in full sentences and let them know when they've rocked an assignment.

2. I Don't Have the Best Answer
This is something I tell the team weekly. Not to be self deprecating and appear more human than the boss, but because it's true! I hired every single special employee we have because they brought something to the table. They could teach us something, they could lead the charge in an area that perplexes the rest of us, and they have passion and drive that rivals mine. I have learned that I need to reiterate this point almost weekly to encourage the team to take risks and share, push the limits; so that we can push the movement forward.

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3. Boundaries, Boundaries
Apparently I have no boundaries. Not in a Lindsay Lohan way, more so in that I work constantly and forget that emailing/calling/texting you at 5am isn't cool with everyone. I've learned to put in place and respect personal/professional boundaries.

4. Mom, Friend, Teacher, Disciplinary, Disciple
As a boss you have to be them all. There are days when I feel like the mom (even though I am younger than everyone on the team). There are days when we need a collaborative vibe and sit with coffee around a table brain storming or problem solving. There are days when I have to make sure everyone understand the goals, tasks at hand and overall movement. There are days when I have to discipline those 10 years older than me. The most important days though, are the ones where I am the disciple. These are the days when our insanely talented workforce teaches me things I never thought I would know.

Being a boss is hard; it requires a foolproof knowledge of your business, clients and goals. Being a good boss is harder; it requires a foolproof knowledge of both your own and your team members' individual strengths, weaknesses and styles.