What is a balanced leadership
Management and leadership skills are difficult to hone. Obviously, commitment is first and foremost, but does commitment immediately translate to success? Many leaders can try to be everybody’s friend. Others try to be drill sergeants. Which is better? Often, a great leader is able to balance the approach because he or she can understand the situation and find the best way to do things. With that said, how can YOU become this great leader?
Set baseline standards based on principle
One of the biggest difficulties for most in a leadership role is when to be firm. Life is always easy when being everybody’s friend. However, leading by being everybody’s friend often has its downfall. The most common place is some will eventually think you are a pushover. It’s great if everyone in the group thinks you are a friend and care about you, but usually, this is not the case. There are always selfish reasons that pop up and the people in your group will then do what they want to do, rather than what’s best. Because you cannot get yourself to stop them and only care about being their friend, they exploit it.
So, how to best make deal with this? Set firm baseline rules. For example, never let your 2-year-old children bang his head on the floor when angry. A student cheating in a test will be expelled. Usually, to decide on whether to set the baseline standard depends on the impact of the violation.
Understand your people
The best way to go is always to align the best thing to do with the wants of your group. For example, you want a holiday getaway within a budget, with quality time spent both as a family but also with your wife alone. The idea is only good, if all parties, both the children and your wife, want it as well. Seems simple enough? Are you sure? Often, what we think our group wants may not actually be what the people really want. How well do you know them? Spend time to communicate so that you can make the best decision possible, taking into account what they want.
Project fairness, firmness
Another most trying job of leadership is when dealing with conflicts, either between you and someone else or just between members of the group. The most important things when handling conflict is to be fair and consistent. People can expect what they get from you. For example, two staff member trying to push the clean-up job to the other. Have a system so that each gets a turn every other week. If two people are arguing, get them first to calm down and at a right time, get them to talk to each other and let the air out. We have another good read about dealing with conflict. It focuses on workplace situations, but it should apply to all situations.
Yet be open and honest
If you are already a leader and not an appallingly bad one, most likely many staffs look up to you. Often times, they may actually ask you for guidance. Being a good leader, one should be approachable and understood. If they don’t understand, you are not allowing them to love you. This is dangerous because if you are not loved, then everyone is just waiting to take you down whenever an opportunity arises. Open and honest also allows for good communication and eliminate misunderstandings.
For example, in the clean-up job example, where staffs have to do a job they don’t like. If they don’t know you are running a rotation system but rather just think you are assigning randomly, you are not fair in their minds even when you are. Yes, you can argue it is their fault for not understanding. However, as a leader, you have to go above this pettiness and understand that you have the ability to lead their thinking, and then allow them to understand you. Obviously, this doesn’t mean that you should give away all your company secrets.
Understand the difference between dealing with a few and a group
Many of the tips above require the leader to be very involved. This is as one should be. However, while this works very well in a small group setting, this doesn’t work as well for a larger group because it just takes too much time. Leading a large group requires delegation. Have the oldest child take care of a few of the younger children. Create a hierarchy in your company. What’s most important is that the delegates that you have chosen should represent your principles and ideas. Preferably, they can even spread your principles to the rest of the people. Having said that, there can be a certain amount of freedom allowed for the delegates to run the show, as long as the basic rules are fulfilled, such as doing what needs to be done when certain baselines are crossed.
Always remember why
Running a show is always a marathon, in a family setting, a sports team, at work, or even being a citizen. One can also lead from many different positions and settings. It is often easy to forget why you do things because many people focus on the what and the how, as these are always the immediate questions. Especially when things are difficult, it is often easy for people to forget where they started and why they do the things they do. It is always good to periodically step back and review why and be able to then move forward again.
You have the ability to lead your own mind as well!
Always Remember W.H.Y.
Be Well, Be Happy, Be You