Solving Problems and Improving Leadership

My boss is very busy because he is currently running three companies and is a part-owner in another. Since I’m paid by the Richmond guarantee, he doesn’t need to get his money’s worth out of hiring me, so sometimes he focuses on other immediate issues rather than figuring out tasks for me to do. In my opinion, this is an underuse of leadership.  I will ask him if he has anything he needs help with and prompt him to give me direction, but he has so many things on his plate, he gets distracted before he can plan out things for me to do.  Hiring someone means that you have responsibilities to lead, direct, and train that person. I have noticed that with his companies, he is very much a big picture guy and often doesn’t think about the little details needed to achieve a goal. I think when he hired an intern he didn’t think about the little details that would go into managing another person. I feel awkward calling him out and demanding more work because I know he is really busy with a lot of things going on. I don’t want to act like me having work is the most important thing he needs to figure out, but I do let him know I am looking for things to do.  One thing I have realized is that my boss likes to talk out company strategy with me, and he really likes my suggestions and insights and takes them to heart. When we work together as a team to think of potential problems, solutions, and next steps, both of us are most satisfied with our quality of work and the company fares better.  I will ask him more questions to start a dialogue and encourage our strategy conversations to continue.  By subtly starting these conversations, I am forcing him to think about things he needs to do (that he would otherwise avoid), and he can delegate some of those things to me.  From when I started writing this post to when I finished it a couple of days later.  I tried out that tactic, and it worked! Not only did he like the points I brought up, he let me start work on them.  In a way, I was leading myself and creating my own opportunities, which solved my lack of work problem.