Are You a Balanced Boss?

Recruiting and staffing is a production business. As a leader in your firm, your challenge will always be to hold people accountable for results without beating them up. You don’t want to be a pushover, but you also don’t want your team to see you as a Jekyll-Hyde personality – someone they learn to walk on eggshells around and eventually leave.

Holding people accountable while being a tough and likeable leader is the happy balance few achieve. But in consulting through the years with owners and executives of staffing companies, I’ve noticed some distinct commonalities.

Here are three observed behaviors of those balanced bosses who’ve figured it out.

1. They overcommunicate. That starts with sharing financial results with everyone on a weekly basis.If business is good, praise them for a great week.If it was bad, don’t sugar-coat it, but don’t communicate it as catastrophic either.State the facts, then convey the specific behavior adjustments everyone (including you) needs to make.If people sense business is bad but don’t know how bad bad is, and don’t know how to adjust their behavior to help turn things around, there’s just a lot of hand-wringing, whispering, and job board surfing that goes on. A culture of negativity invades your organization, and when that happens, balance is tough to restore.

2. They don’t live in an ivory tower. Balanced leaders descend into the trenches regularly.Yes, you may have earned the right to step back and work “on” your business instead of “in” it. But if they only see you when things are bad, your staff takes notice. If the business has stalled, talk to your team to better understand what’s hindering their success, then initiate changes. Otherwise they see you as the parent who’s quick to scold but never encourages or praises. Be the visionary leader who speaks strategically about the future, but stay close to the day to day.

3. They know where they’re imbalanced. Balanced leaders know what they’re good at, everyone else knows what they’re good at, and they outsource what they’re not good at! If you’re a back-office kind of person who lacks the knowledge or desire to drive sales, hire a strong sales leader or engage a trainer and coach to support your team’s success. If you’re a selling machine, leverage that strength but surround yourself with strong accountants, financial advisors, attorneys and other specialists to help manage the back-of-house.

The balanced boss strategically works to maintain balanced behaviors because she knows people are happiest and most productive when it exists. Simply put, balanced leadership is good for business.

If you think you’re off-balance, just a few tweaks can begin to swing the pendulum toward the center.

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