Guest Post by Alison Podworski. Alison is the owner of Alison May Public Relations. The former journalist is also a moderator and keynote speaker on public relations, reputation management, social media and crisis communications. . You can connect with Alison on LinkedIn or Twitter.
I hated being a boss. In fact, I was not a good one. The problem: I was too nice. I didn’t want to be perceived as bitch or hurt anyone’s feelings. Clearly that didn’t work out too well. I was taken advantage of and took on much of the workload because I didn’t manage correctly.
I’m not the only one that this has happened to. Even though there are more women than ever taking on positions of authority and leading teams, there is still an unspoken fear among many. They are worried that their confidence and management style will come off as bitchy and cold.
Fast-forward to where I am now and things have changed dramatically. I have learned from my mistakes. Now, I have become a boss without being a bitch. Here’s how you can too.
Keep Emotions Out of the Office
Many women are emotional and that’s okay. But, we need to “Manage our emotions as well as we manage our staff, says Caitlin Friedman, author of The Girl’s Guide to Being a Boss (Without Being a Bitch). We can’t let them see us sweat. If we show our emotions, the staff will be stressed and our level of respect will dwindle.
Don’t let your emotions get in the way of making smart decisions. We obviously don’t want to upset our employees, but we need to address situations before they get out of hand. Remember, it’s your business and you have to do what is right for you.
When addressing a situation, always be calm and start off on a positive note. Use constructive feedback, state your case of concern and ask them if they understand or have any questions.
This is the number one piece of advice that I can offer. If you want respect, then you must be fair. Treat everyone equally and with respect, and in time, it’s likely they’ll return the favor. Don’t ever let your position of power go to your head.
Set Your Expectations and Be Real
Your employees can’t read your mind, so you must tell them what you expect of them. Set the tone and clarify your expectations. Most bosses will have high aspirations and you need to express that you want your employees to rise to meet your expectations. With that said, if an employee ever has a problem, they need to know that they can come to you. An open door policy is one of your strongest allies.
Don’t try to be someone you are not. If you are nice, then be nice, but just make sure that you have established a level of respect. Don’t manage based on fear. Manage on expectations. Manage to get results.
You must listen and support your employees. This is critical. Your employees must know that you care about them professionally and personally. As a boss, you should know their strengths and weaknesses, as well as the type of environment that makes them the most productive. Personally, you don’t need to be their best friend, but you should have a pulse on the basic elements of their non-work life. Make it a point to check in with them on a regular basis.
This Isn’t High School
Don’t ever talk negatively about an employee to another employee. This is business between you and that staff member. Don’t start rumors or reveal to your employees that there are individual problems or issues within the office. If you act in this manner, your employees will lose respect for you and you will become that “bitch”.
Stop Saying Sorry
I dare you to count how many times women say sorry. I’m guilty of it, but I’m working it. Apologize when needed, but not for everything under the sun. It makes you look weak and less confident.
Confidence is Sexy
Confidence will yield respect. The more confidence you have, the more employees will respect you. The more confidence you have, the easier it is to land the clients you are striving to attain.
Find a Mentor
Being a boss is difficult and stressful. You are not alone. Connect with another person in your position. They will become a sounding board and someone to lean on. You would be amazed at the advice that they can give you. They are the only ones who will understand what you are going through and will give you real advice. I don’t know where I would be if it wasn’t for my mentor. I owe so much to them.
Bosses have an extreme amount of pressure. It is a challenging, but rewarding job. Learn from your failures and always get right back up. Remember, if you are a good and fair boss, you are not a bitch. Just don’t ever let anyone walk all over you.