I asked a friend if I would be a good boss. She told me that I am very naive. She said to me not to be so optimistic and that life is not as safe as I believe. I looked up to this lady. She was much older than me and had made her mark as a canny businesswoman with integrity. I am still friends with her. I understand now what she tried to tell me back then.
When I started my first business years ago, I vowed to be a good boss and not to treat my staff like I saw others treating theirs. I promised myself to pay them more because I appreciate them. I undertook not to waste the time of everyone who worked for me. Just as I don’t want them to waste mine. I remember how it felt working for someone, that does not appreciate me. My philosophy is not to treat adults like children and not to micro-manage people who work with me.
I know now that the people around me have a different perception. What I see as micro-managing or that I treat them like children could be seen by them as me being detached and not in control.
Lead by example
I had this idea that I will a leader that leads by example and that will inspire those around me. Work hard, and always go the extra mile for everyone, is my motto. I always do things a little different, always in excellence, like a beautiful tray when I offer coffee, a little ribbon around a gift, or a few extra minutes in a treatment.
I could not believe my eyes as I came into a treatment performed by one of my staff and saw that the client got coffee in a chipped mug. There was no sign of a tray or any gorgeous cups and sauces, which I specially bought for our clients. The way we serve our clients coffee, tea, snacks, or sparkling wine is the excellence that the clients love. This is our signature as an exclusive spa.
To my surprise, the example I set was not seen as the standard level of excellence. The therapist did not recognise it as an important customer service. No, she thought that I am a snob and was trying to be better than others.
Commission as part of a salary?
I am not too fond of the idea of being paid a commission. I think that I should be paid because I work harder than most and that if I do not make a target, it would not be because I did not do my work.
My experience formed this belief because I used to work where it was almost impossible to make targets. The owner did not order stock, and clients waited too long for their products and cancelled their orders.
I am extra careful not to get into the same situation, but then I thought:
“I will implement the ‘Let us pay more’ rule. And I did! To my own detriment. In a perfect world, you would think that when I pay someone a high basic salary, they will still work hard to increase and take home even more.
It did not reassure me that my staff did not value my noble thought. Instead, they saw it as I had to make up for all the employers before me who mistreated them. They did just enough not to get in trouble.
Now I understood what my friend tried to tell me. People will not see my ideas with the intentions I have behind them. Not all people have the drive to succeed. A good boss needs to be realistic and make provisions for this.
Great leaders learn continuously.
I had to find ways not to become cynical. I do not want to go bankrupt because I have staff on the payroll that do not bring in the money needed to pay them. A team that does not believe in excellence the way I do is not an option, and I will not compromise my principles.
I wanted to learn from my mistakes, and every person I talked to or book I read give the same rules. Do everything, by the book. Document everything and don’t give too much. Never let them know you need them, and never expect people to do the right thing just because it is the right thing to do.
I was not prepared to settle for this “advice”. And then, I learned about LEMON Leadership. Now I know what type of leader that I am. I know that documenting everything I do will never work for me and that I do not like people micromanaging me.
I also know that not everyone feels the same way and that some people like to have all their t’s crossed and need structure and guidance. For them checking in does not mean that I treat them like children. They see that I am in control and need to know what they are busy with.
Now, I choose my team differently. I pick people who are not like me and embrace our different leadership types. I do not reward everyone the same way either. We all know each others’ strengths and weaknesses. We have grace for each other while being focused on the task at hand and getting things done.
Are you a good boss that knows their leadership types?
Do you know what you do that drives your team crazy? The chances are that your staff do not understand you, and you don’t always understand why they operate differently than you do. This comes down to your and their leadership type. There are five different leadership types and knowing you and your team’s Leadership type will bring answers to many questions.
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