Whether you started your own business and need expand your staff, or you were recently promoted to a leadership position, suddenly being in charge can be a challenge.
Yes, there are the difficulties of assembling a team, putting processes in place and dealing with paperwork, but perhaps the biggest challenge you’ll face is, “being the boss.” In other words, being in charge of other people could be tough, especially if your team are friends or former peers. It’s a tough tightrope walk for sure.
If you’re too nice, you risk your staff walking all over you. On the other hand, if you’re too tough on everyone, no one will want to work for you.
The good thing is that tightrope is tough to walk, but not impossible. You can be tough, but fair with your employees so they’ll want to come back to work the following day. Here’s how.
Set your expectations early.
It’s not that your management style can’t be flexible, but it’ll help your employees if they know what type of boss you’re going to be up front. You don’t want a staff that’s coming in unsure of which boss is going to be in the office that day.
If you’re not sure which direction to go, remember it’s easier to start out tough and ease up than it is the other way around.
Listen to your employees.
Yes, you should have some ground rules. They don’t have to be written in stone, however. For example, if you have a strict, “on time” policy and someone’s late, find out why before you discipline him or her, especially if it’s someone who’s usually prompt. You never know what could be going on in someone’s life and taking a few minutes to find out can go a long way towards showing your employees you have a sense of empathy.
This isn’t to say you have to share everything with your staff, but it comes to procedural changes, especially ones that impact employees directly, you should give them an explanation why it’s happening. The “We’re making this change and that’s the end of it” approach, especially if it’s an unpopular change, may be a tough line, but it’s definitely not fair. Instead, keep your staff in the loop to why changes are happening so it feels like it is part of the process, even if you’re not asking them to weigh in on the ultimate decision.
Seek out advice from your peers.
You’re at a new level now, one that your newly acquired staff may not be able to relate to. There’s no reason that you have to navigate this new territory alone though. If you need some pointers on how to be tough, but fair with your employees, talk to someone at your management level (or above) at your company. If you’re running your own business, you can always reach out to friends or maybe join management networking groups to get ideas on how to deal with employees fairly.
You’re the boss, which means you can run the team the way you want to. If you run it in a way that’s fair to your staff, but at the same time holds everyone accountable, there’s a great chance you’ll have created a great work environment for everyone involved.