How to be an effective leader

When starting up your own business, it’s likely that you will be required to hire staff at some point. When this happens, you will have to decide what type of boss you wish to be. Of course, everyone believes they will be a great boss, but putting this into practice can often be difficult. Many people believe there are only two options; that of being the tyrannical boss that dominates everyone through fear, and the opposite, that of being seen as one of the team, a friend.

However, as you can imagine, neither is seen as being better than the other, with there being advantages and disadvantages to both. Research has shown that when angry, leaders are perceived as being powerful in a more traditional sense, but when sensitive, these bosses are seen as being more powerful in a personal sense. The trick, of course, is striking a balance between the two; being a boss that is both respected and liked by your employees.

To help you better understand what is involved in this delicate balance, we have put together the following information relating to the advantages and disadvantages of being either a strict boss or one that is friendlier with employees.

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Being a feared leader

There is no denying that there are some perceived benefits to being a leader feared by employees. Such fear can, of course, help to create attentive and cooperative employees. Such bosses are often seen by employees as being powerful, of having the authority within an organisation to be able to punish others – whether this was true or not. Should leadership through fear can, of course, be a motivator, but how effective and for how long are a different matter and can ultimately lead to strained relationships.

However, whilst such leaders were seen to have strong disciplinary power, they were also said to have weak referent power. Referent power describes the ability of a leader to influence others through empathy. Having this ability is vital to earning trust and commitment from employees and therefore this can be very difficult for bosses to achieve if others view them as being strict and unapproachable.

In conclusion, fear can only go so far and is not recommended as a way to operate a business. True leadership is a blend of mutual respect and trust, with employees much preferring leaders who attract respect through the way they conduct themselves over those who simply demand it.

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Being a loved leader

If you do not want to be a feared leader, perhaps you would like to be a loved one instead? Leaders who are loved by their employees are often seen as having more of a personal connection with them; seen as being more of a colleague rather than a boss. Studies have revealed that there are business advantages to this approach. These benefits include employees feeling more connected to bosses because they appear vulnerable and show their emotions. Employees can more easily identify and relate to such traits, which in turn increases the amount of personal power you as their boss will possess.

It is not rocket science to see that treating your employees fairly and with respect will result in a happier workforce. It is your task to balance their enjoyment at work with their desire to push forward and make your business a success. Being liked or loved by your employees is important, but you should always remember that you are their boss and therefore the decisions you make will have a very real impact on their lives.

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Good luck!

Being a boss is not easy, there are many things you have to consider, as well as remembering that you have the power of an employees’ welfare. Such responsibility should not be taken lightly, and you should, therefore, take your duties as an employer very seriously. A happy workforce is essential to the longevity and success of your business and their happiness will in no small amount depend on how you treat them. To most, such advice may seem just like common sense. Even if this is true, you should strive to always remember the importance of your relationship with your employees and constantly and regularly assess it to make any necessary improvements.

Your employees should be an asset to your business, helping you achieve your vision for your business. What works for one type of business may not be suitable for another. However, as we have shown, to be successful and create a workforce that believes in you and your business involves a delicate balance. Your employees must be able to respect you and believe in you to want to help you succeed, whilst at the same time they must be aware of the relationship, that they are an employee and you are the boss. Get this right and your business will have a much better chance of succeeding.