How to be a fair leader in a tough environment
Whether you have been promoted to a leadership role or have recently launched a small startup, you may find that being in charge is a whole new ball game.
Be it offering guidance, giving directions or making a tough decision, being ‘the boss’ isn’t easy.
If you are too outspoken you will be feared, but if you’re too soft soft you might not be respected - the sweet spot is somewhere in between, but finding it can be a challenge. Having said that,it’s possible to lead a team well and fairly no matter the environment you are working in.
Here is some advice that will help you strike the right balance:
Set your expectations early on
You might be a movie enthusiast, but the good cop / bad cop routine does not work in the office. After all, you don’t want your co-workers and team members coming into the office wondering who you are today. When it comes to management style, you can’t be too flexible, but should be upfront about it. Remember that your true self will always come through in the end, so better take a stance early on and let people know what your management style is going to be as early as possible.
Stand your ground
It’s important to have rules in place and enforce them if necessary. There is no need to be overly picky, but if deadlines are a priority for you, then make sure your team knows it. However, if someone misses a deadline, try not to discipline them in front of others. Instead, consider having a one-on-one pep talk with the offender.
You don’t have to share every single detail with your team, but when it comes to major procedural changes, especially if these impact them directly, you need to offer them an explanation. Even if it’s an unpopular decision, keep your co-workers in the loop about all the changes that are occuring around you.
Seek advice from peers
This is true especially if you are new at managing other people. You don’t have to go through it by yourself. While leading a team might be unchartered territory, you are not the first to go through it. Try to find someone senior you can trust and discuss your concerns and problems with them. Their advice can be particularly handy if you need a few pointers on how to be tough or motivate your team effectively.