It is nearly always better to be loved than feared in the workplace. Studies consistently prove that companies with overly stressed or unhappy employees experience higher than average turnover rates and low morale, according to the Harvard Business Review. While most would agree that a smile is more beneficial in the workplace than a frown accompanied by an order to work late or do better, there are cases where managers can be too nice.
With the push for collaborative working environments and perks like work-from-home days and mentorship roles, it can be a lot more difficult for leaders to draw the line between being a boss and being a friend. Depending on your own office, this line may be more straightforward or blurry, but here are a few helpful suggestions about how to recognize if your leadership style is too nice for your workplace.
You're being taken advantage of
One of the classic examples of nice leadership gone wrong is when employees feel like they can walk all over their boss - without any consequences. If your employees are turning in late assignments or not taking your suggestions seriously, they may feel like you are too kind to do anything about it. Though not all of your employees may be doing this with malicious intent, you should set a precedent that you are still the boss and late or unacceptable work will not be tolerated.
The next time employees let you know that they can't finish their project on time, tell them that you expect them to keep the deadline you initially set for them unless a situation arises that is out of their control. You can be respectful and firm when handling this situation and your employees will respect you more as a result.
You're making excuses for underperforming employees
While you may be close to certain employees, if they're consistently performing sub-par work and you continually make excuses for them, you need to stop. If they are seriously struggling to do their job well, provide training or mentorship opportunities to boost their abilities and industry knowledge. Meanwhile, if they are simply not capable of performing their current role, find another one that would better suit their skills or maybe it is time to part ways. While it may be difficult, you need to think of what is best for you organization.
You're spending too much time on them
As a nice boss, you may be spending far too much time helping underperforming employees, planning group outings or other activities that take away time from your own work. Learn to take a step back and focus on your own responsibilities and delegate certain development or teambuilding activities to other employees. You will empower them while taking the burden off yourself.
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