Being a Leader without Being a Jerk
Your employees must be productive for your business to operate and when it comes to motivating employees let’s face it, being a jerk is a bad idea. It’s your responsibility as the manager to make sure the gears keep grinding to get the job done through proper employee motivation. You could easily walk that fine line of being a tough boss with high expectations or the jerk with unreasonable demands. Nobody wants to have a leader who is a jerk, so make sure you’re monitoring your actions and motivating employees through appreciation not intimidation. Below are a few ways you can be an authoritative leader without being a dictator.
Praise Often and in Public
A pat on the back can go a very long way for your team members, especially when the praise is given in a public setting, like a meeting. So often employees feel like their work goes unnoticed and unappreciated, which can not only lead to your hard workers slacking off in the office, but can also result in you losing your best workers. Look for and take advantage of opportunities where you can publicly recognize a worker for their efforts. Be specific with why you appreciate their hard work, noting extra hours they put in on a particular project, or taking on a leadership role without being asked. Motivating employees is easy with employee recognition software like the Reward Geek platform.
Criticize in Private
Corrective conversations can be difficult, and depending on the employee, may become combative. The best way to handle these meetings is in private. Singling a team member out in front of everyone will not only breed resentment toward you by your targeted worker, but other employees will begin to fear being singled out themselves. Offer constructive criticism in a direct, but respectful way. Offer instructions on how behavior should change or improve, and only assign measurable goals so if the topic ever needs to be revisited, you and the employee can clearly see definitive progression, not what you think has changed or has not.
Apologize in the Same Forum that You Criticized
Even the best leaders are wrong on occasion. Perhaps you were misinformed or misunderstood a situation, or perhaps you simply made a bad decision for your company or team. There’s nothing wrong with being wrong, it’s how you own the misstep that matters. If your mistake was criticizing a team member, it’s important that you apologize in the same manner you criticized. Meaning, if you’re overreaction or criticism was done in front of others, the same should be done for owning that mistake.
As the leader, it can be tough to let someone else take over a project or take the lead with a big client, but you must be able to appreciate different styles of doing a good job. Your way is not the only way to succeed. Recognize that your team is made of a variety of personalities who own their own strategies. Be clear about the desired outcome, but allow your team the space to form the path to that end goal.
It is possible to be a demanding boss without being a jerk. When your team feels appreciated, respected and each member has room to grow within the company, you’ll be recognized as a strong team leader without whispers of “jerk,” when you walk away.