You read it correctly. And it is true.
I have been a CEO/Owner of a very successful business for over 25 years. My employees were integral in my success so I had to make major decisions in hiring hundreds of people. Most worked out well, some did not and paid the consequences for both.
So when a few people challenged me that there is only one boss, I politely disagreed. If you have never run a business, especially one that required great capital risk, you might not grasp the impact that an owner has to ‘their’ boss.
So who is their boss? I think it is obvious, and they are the toughest ones to please. Their customers are their bosses! At the end of the day, if they do not deliver the products or services expected to their customers, they will ‘fire’ them. So how do they do it? Their customers go to a competing business and they now do not have the financial ability to maintain what they built to survive. Their ‘boss’ has the final say…always. This is really underestimated, particularly by employees.
Also, if you needed capital to start a business, you have another boss. Those ‘bosses’ are the banks and/or investors. Every CEO and owner has to deal with their customer’s expectations, no different than their employees having to deal with the CEO’s expectations of their job description.
When you work for someone, you can clearly define who your immediate boss is. It is the person who either hired you or you report to. You have to please your boss, listen to what they have to say, and respect them always! Does this sound similar to what an owner goes through?
Additionally, everyone is empowered to control their own destiny. Businesses are essentially relationships. Owners have direct relationships with their customers, but also need to respect and listen to the advice of their workforce.
In addition, employees are equally empowered. An employee has a say in the direction they want their life to take. They can take a job that makes them happy, despite the money received, but that is their sole choice. Conversely, they can work for a person that they do not respect, but choose to be led by them and live a miserable life. It’s best to find the right boss because your life will be more meaningful knowing you have respect for them. Without respect, you really have nothing.
The conclusion is that both owners and employees are accountable to someone. Because this is an undeniable truth, the focus of a great company should be for all involved to understand this symbiotic relationship and respect everyone’s boss.
Knowing this is not a license to be cocky. It is a recognition that we are all accountable to someone and we should never lose sight of that.