Most people want to be liked. It’s an indomitable human trait, which keeps us safe as part of a group, a team, or a family. It stops us from being ostracised or vulnerable, like the Thompson’s gazelle that gets eaten by the lion for running outside the pack.
Although some people say they couldn’t care less, most people want to belong and enjoy that social side of being part of that group.
And, when you are the leader of a business, because of that, it’s easy to get sucked in to worry about what people think of you.
“Do they like me?”
“Is it annoying having me ask them questions?”
“Should I show them how I do it?”
“Will they think I am lazy if I delegate this?”
I’m sure you know that inner voice.
And, of course, it helps to get on with your teams, because work relationships are especially important, for trust, and belonging itself.
But you can go too far!
Believe it or not, being too nice can have a detrimental effect on your business.
Well, let’s get into it and check if you too are killing your business with kindness?
Are you saying what needs to be said?
Firstly, are you saying what needs to be said?
Do you worry about offending people rather than correcting their mistakes? Are you staying quiet when things aren’t being done how they should?
Biting your tongue might seem like the right thing to do. Just let them do it how they want, and you can just correct it later.
Or are you avoiding conflict because you just don’t like that awkwardness it brings?
But what are you really doing if you do that?
You are creating a much bigger workload for yourself, eating up your valuable time doing someone else’s job or maybe dealing with the fallout that conflict brings.
You are also depriving them of learning how to do tasks most effectively and leaving them ill-equipped for future management roles or subsequent employers.
Finally, you are enabling poor performance, which is not fair for you or them. And it certainly won’t fit with your vision for the business. This risks damaging the ethos that your clients, staff and customers have invested in. And if the reputation drops, so do sales.
It isn’t always nice but sometimes you just have to go out and say it.
“Actually, you should be doing this…”
It’s beneficial to you, your business, and your team.
Are you saying it right?
You also need to look at what you say and the way you say it.
In all my time coaching, this is one of the most common problems I have found.
People get it wrong for many reasons. Maybe guilt, uncertainty, lack of confidence, and more ☹.
Do you start questions with:
“Could you maybe…?”
“If you have time…”
And end them with:
“No worries if not…”
If so, you could be setting them and you up to fail! You could well benefit from changing the way you look and things and getting conscious of the impact this is having.
If you start with these phrases, then you are leaving it open to misinterpretation, uncertainty for the person who should be doing it, and then, of course, their lack of confidence in it too. They are not sure if that is a choice, or an over polite request or whether you really mean it at all.
Now I am not saying that you shouldn’t be kind or pleasant, of course. Respect and understanding is part of the deal. But if we are not clear, the signals we are giving off are just confusing and some won’t do it because they aren’t sure, whereas others will take the opportunity to take the easy road because the waters were muddy.
So, if something needs doing, let people know it needs doing, and you would like them to do it! (With a smile and respect, of course).
If you don’t, you are opening the door for procrastination, mad last-minute rushes and missed deadlines. A slippery slope for any business, with lack of productivity, clientele, and profit!
Are you too forgiving?
Are you constantly letting people off the hook or constantly blaming yourself?
There’s a couple of issues here.
Let’s look at blaming yourself first. I’m not saying you are completely blameless every time, let’s just be clear! But equally, you aren’t always to blame either. What is important is that you aren’t excusing people for their mistakes. If you have said what needs to be said, the way it should be said, and tasks are still not being done right, people need to know!
We do have a responsibility to set people up to succeed, so if you missed something, telling them how, why, or what to do then of course – your issue to resolve.
But, if you shoulder everything, it means there is no responsibility on others in your business to make sure things happen right. You will end up parenting your team to make things happen. And that’s not fun! (we’ll get into that later).
And letting people off the hook may feel like the right thing in the short term, but soon you will run into issues.
It is not just your business that will suffer, you will also feel the effects personally. Your health, mental and physical, supersedes everything, remember!
Again, you are depriving your teams of the chance to learn from their mistakes. And we already know that that impacts the futures of them and your business.
I’m not saying you should come down on every little thing like a ton of bricks, but if you paper over too many cracks, everything will fall down like a house of cards eventually.
Let’s go back to parenting.
Ever said to yourself, it’s like a bunch of kids in here?
Or that you are the only one who seems to care or take that responsibility?
Having to correct things and tell everyone what to do?
It is often a response to frustration when people are not stepping up and you are still having to do everything, or feel like you have to push them to do things.
But the issue is that this is a vicious circle that spirals into a toxic environment.
Because people hate being parented! But then they act like kids, and you can’t help yourself, maybe even saying it’s their fault.
I’m sure you have all experienced it, the patronising tone, and the feeling like a child again as someone dumbs down something you already know how to do. And then feeling like you want to throw your teddies out of the pram because if they are going to treat you like a child, you might as well act like one! Huh??
It’s not always just the frustrated tone, it can also be the overly caring, over worrying and kid-gloves issue too. Not letting them step up and overprotecting is a quick route to lack of responsibility and them probably leaving you too soon.
In reality, no one wants to be treated like a kid and, thus, this is a surefire team demotivator! We must break that cycle.
When you feel looked down on or spoken down to, you just stop working so hard. And with less effort comes less output, less urgency and less business.
So, if you treat them like kids, they’re going to play silly games and mess around in the sandpit and want you to wipe the proverbial every once in a while 😉.
Remember, they don’t want that any more than you do, but it is hard to get out of one by one.
However, it is an easy but valuable fix. Having that conversation that brings us all back to “adulting” is the best way. Naming it, talking about it and getting buy in to move forwards.
No rocket science here!
But if it feels like your business is struggling to tackle some of these issuesjo, or the thought of asking outright still seems scary, don’t worry! Let’s have a chat.
Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and we can say what needs to be said together!
P.S. Whenever you are ready…here are 4 ways I can help you increase your impact as a leader:
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4. Work with me and my team privately
If you or your team just need a little more one to one attention to make change happen in your business… just reply to this message and put “PRIVATE” in the subject line… tell me a little about your business and what you’d like to work on together, and I’ll get you all the details!