The cold hard truth of being a nice boss in business
We don’t know about you guys, but we believe the UK population are – dare we say it – quite nice. As such, something we love to do is mask our true feelings in order to preserve someone else’s.
This inherent empathy we have as Britons has given us the stereotype of being overly polite to outsiders, and it’s not completely untrue. But in business, where the stakes are higher and you’re reliant on other people to ensure you can bring money home to your family, can being nice be bad for business? Here are the signs to look out for.
Making small allowances
As leaders, it’s hard to find the right balance between being understanding and putting your foot down. We want our staff to enjoy work and be engaged in the business. We can’t do this if they dread work each day because we’re being overbearing.
But being too nice doesn’t help either. Nine out of ten startups will fail. It’s the cold, harsh truth and if you want to survive, you need to do everything in your power to do so. Whether you’re dealing with suppliers who can’t deliver on time, colleagues who don’t do their work, or customers who refuse to pay, letting things slide could mean your business falls behind on payments or providing services.
When you let your customers down, it looks bad on you. When people realise they can get away with small things because “hey, the boss won’t mind”, they’re more likely to do to again. It’s something that needs stopping before it can really get started, otherwise, it will snowball out of control.
Finding the balance
Like with most things, there is a grey area, especially with making allowances. While you shouldn’t let even the smallest things slide when they could impact your business negatively, there is a charm understanding bosses have that can go a long way in the workforce. For example, leaders who make allowances to show they care about their staff will likely build a strong, loyal team.
You might allow urgent staff time-off, allow flexible working to help staff facing difficulties outside of work, have a relaxed uniform policy, and other things that show you put your people first. However, the key is to do these things without damaging your business. The minute you or your employees’ actions could impact the strength of your cash flow, your customer service, or your reputation is the minute you need to put your foot down.
If you’re too nice, being able to say no and be firm might not come easily. But practice makes perfect and the sooner you can be affirmative to protect your livelihood, the better. It’s not just your business on the line; it’s everything in your life that relies on your business’s success, be it your family or the life you’ve always dreamed of.
Making your mark as a business leader can be tough at first. There are so many things thrown at you at once, you don’t know where to start. Big Hand specialises in making your life as a business owner a little easier. We do your taxes so that’s one less thing to worry about, and we offer great business advice to keep you on the road to success. For more information, get in touch on 0161 327 2911.