That’s my friend Andre Malok with just one of his nine NY Emmy Awards. I learned quickly to tell Andre “You’re way smarter about that than I am.”  

I miss being a boss. There, I said it. Launching and growing a digital media and strategic communications company has been a wonderful experience, but it’s different not being in the mix of things with former colleagues and friends.

I miss being invested in their development and seeing them climb. I miss learning from them. I miss the problem-solving and the random bags of you-know-what that would show up on my desk. I miss being the one who had to have the difficult conversations. I miss the puzzle of building a massive digital media audience. I miss the readers and their no-holds-barred feedback. And, of course, I miss the reward of helping a team of talented reporters improve their work, work that would go on to affect an entire state. 

I miss being a boss. 

Reading a piece on LinkedIn last week really hammered home a few things as I go deeper into this new life as a digital media consultant. 

Rebecca Goldsmith, a former Star-Ledger colleague, writes a monthly newsletter called C-Level Stories. She just hit her 10th anniversary, sharing her Top 10 Lessons from 10 years of C-Level Stories!.

Advice for any boss

It’s loaded with great advice, whether you’re running a small group in an office or giant teams from all corners of the world. It’s also a must-read for wanna-be and never-in-a-million-years bosses. 

One of my two favorites is #5: “Great leaders have the courage to feel awkward.”

No matter how many times I addressed a room full of journalists, it always felt awkward. And that’s OK, because I also have seen how this discomfort becomes a strength and bond with employees. 

All it takes is self-awareness, humility and candor — three great qualities in any boss. I’ve also found that saying these five things help keep me self-aware, humble and ready to share the less-than-perfect sides of my professional self.

  • “I don’t know.”
  • “I’m sorry.”
  • “That’s on me.”
  • “I could never do that.”
  • “You’re way smarter about that than I am.”

When a boss shares their human side, it gives employees permission and hopefully the confidence to do the same. Everybody wins. The boss, the employee, the company. 

Try it sometime. Find a genuine way to use any of those five phrases when an opportunity presents itself and people will take notice. 

That other piece of great advice? It’s #1 on Rebecca’s list: Do yourself a favor, and get a good editor!

Me? I’ve got the best!