Would you rather be loved or respected?
That's a perennial question for anyone in a position of leadership. But it's not easy. You're not running a charity, after all. Plus, being a "nice guy" makes sense until you start rewarding employees who don't deliver. To avoid being seen as a pushover, playing the "bad guy" would seem like a natural antidote. But to many that's downright alien behavior?
If not loved, can you at least be liked? Further, can you be liked and respected at the same time? These questions dominated a recent Reddit discussion. Commentators offered their advice on how someone with a friendly nature can also lead a successful business. Here're some highlighted suggestions from the discussion:
1.Set clear expectations for employees.
You will be a bad guy if you criticize someone who did not meet your expectation if you don't first tell them what you expect. Clarify the company's standards to everyone in the firm, and give them credit when they meet your expectations.
2. Praise in public and in private.
It's no secret that many leaders hold the adage "praise in public, criticize in private." While many disagree with the latter, it's always good practice for leaders to show all employees examples of high-performing individuals. In the meantime, don't forget to thank employees in person for the great things they've done. Offering praise in private shows the attention you give to every individual and can engender respect.
3. Hold your employees accountable.
Believe it or not, your employees will respect you more when you point out correctly the mistakes they've made or improvement you suggest could be made to their projects. It's better to communicate this with your employees as early as possible. However, if in the end an employee still failed to get the project done, hold him/her accountable. "Being nice to an employee who's not doing their work or doing it poorly is simultaneously being an asshole to the employees who are," says a Reddit commentator.
4. Show, don't tell.
Giving orders and instructions don't necessarily lead to respect and authority. When you try to convince your employees of anything, it's always more effective to show them the examples. Give them the full control of their projects instead of talking about your trust. Stay later than they are instead of telling them to worker harder. Show them you care about their work by giving them timely feedback.
5. Address infractions immediately.
When your employee comes in five minutes late on his first day and you don't point it out, chances are that he will come in 10 minutes late the next time and then 15 minutes late the time after that. A respected leader knows when employees are testing you. Address any infractions right away. Being clear of your rules does not hurt feelings, but if you suddenly start to criticize your employee for being 30 minutes late after two months, they'll probably blame you for not making things clear at the very beginning.