How to Be the Goldilocks of Managers (Not Too Strict and Not Too Laidback)

Attention management: 70% of your workers are disengaged and one in five may hate you. Somehow most supervisors are failing to get their approach right when trying to manage teams and it’s causing employees to withdraw from their work. How can managers learn to land somewhere in the middle between too laid back and too up-tight? If we can figure this out will it improve employee engagement so that workers love their jobs again? 

Don’t Be Too Nice 

Being a leader means having a commanding presence that isn’t overbearing. Being supportive of your employees is one thing, but being a pushover is something else. Today’s managers don’t want to exhibit characteristics found in movies like Bad Bosses or The Devil Wears Prada. But they also don’t want to swing so far in the other direction that their employees take advantage and run them ragged.  

It’s a little harder today because flexible and remote work options have made communication a little trickier. But the same tools that bring you closer when you are remote can also shred the line between friendship and employer. Too nice could mean too friendly, and if you’re spending too many nights out with your staff at happy hour, there could be a problem. Other less obvious signs include: 

  • You need all your employees to feel comfortable with a decision before you can make it. You don’t have to discuss the concerns of each employee before you go forward with a new rule or undertaking. While you do want their buy-in, you don’t have to wait for it before you move forward. 
  • Are you making too many excuses for the underperformers on your team? It’s okay to mentor and hold employees accountable, it’s wrong to cover for them because they have a personal problem or other issue preventing them from accomplishing a task.  

Recognizing that you’re too nice requires you to have the understanding that your employees don’t have to always like you – but they should respect you. 

Don’t Be a Mean Boss 

You should never say something like, “Just do it because I’m the boss.” You should also avoid criticizing employees for one tiny mistake. Don’t be so heavy-handed that you’re threatening punishment or setting rules that are too rigid or inflexible. If you find yourself acting in these ways it could mask your internal insecurity in your management skills. 

Instead, set the right tone by leading in the way you’d like to be treated. Give positive feedback and set a happy tone for the office by leading by example. Let employees know you believe in them and support their efforts to succeed. Don’t forget the simple rule of thumb that a “Thank you for everything you did to help us succeed today,” can be a huge motivator for any employee. 

Having the right work environment matters whether you’re in management or an individual employee on the front lines. The Custom Group of Companies knows how important the right environment is to your attitude. We can help you make a fresh start so call now

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