Be a leader, not the boss is the biggest buzzword of the last few years. The leader who has the right amount of EQ, common ground with customers and subordinates, knows the organization and the universe as their own and always does their best of course. Truthfully, most of the time your best is poor and you don’t understand why others are like crazy moths around a lightbulb. Everybody is perfect and maybe the only one who isn’t grown up to the task yet is you?

Maybe not. Working with people is the hardest profession that a person can choose. I think, our priority as a human being is to figure out how to live our life to the fullest. After getting some subordinates your new job is to figure out other’s life goals. As a specialist, you don’t have to care about others, you should but don’t have to. If you are the boss, then that’s not an option. Not using your EQ in crucial moments means that those tiny private problems turn into joint problems that destroy everyone’s day including you. One or two bad days aren’t the end of the world. But what happens when it escalates something bigger?

At my first long-term job, our department was the “black sheep” of the organization. We were at fault at everything that the organization has ever committed. We didn’t get the asked reports from IT, got chauvinistic jokes, they told us we can’t reach the goal numbers and our work is worthless. Our team was awesome by the way and always reached the goal numbers. The funniest part is that we didn’t have any problem with that. Until every department except ours got new chairs and we got the scrapped ones from them. We were told that sadly there is no budget for us to buy new chairs, maybe next year. I resigned and in half a year all of my colleagues left that place.

These little problems could be easily solved. Thinking it through, you can consider yourself lucky, if those are the biggest problems within your department. I’d like to believe that as a leader, the main focus of the job is to make employees comfortable at work so they want to come into the office the next day too.

Make your workplace a safe place for everyone.

Looking into the eyes of your problems and solve them like a real hero is awesome. Sadly, I’m not that amazing. If I encounter an obstacle I can sit on it for days. Honestly, sometimes it feels good to run from those monsters and just nine-to-eight it to forget. It’s not a solution but for a bit, your workplace can be a sanctuary too. Work-life balance means to me that I can hide from work problems at home and home problems at work for a little bit and that makes the balance. Of course, once in a year, everything is perfect but sadly there are other 364 days to go. So, it’s really useful if you have two fortresses to hide.

Feeling like that I believe that helping the team to find that sanctuary if they need it and of course bring those numbers at the end of the year shows how successful are you as a lead.

How to make that sanctuary?

First, I’m sure that everybody has to dig out that place for themselves. You can’t want it instead of anybody. If you feel that it is the TEAM, then you naturally want to fit in. Feeling out of place for more than a week means that maybe you should say goodbye but it depends on one’s personality of course.

There are two occasions when the leader has some influence on this process:

  • In the recruitment process when they try to find that fitting piece in the form of a human being.
  • In the one-on-one talks where the development and personal goals sharing happens so when the sprout of a problem begins to grow the team can be there with a helping hand.

This hand can be very useful at work-related problems. A not so nice colleague, bad customers, boring tasks, chauvinistic jokes, closed doors can be solved together. As a leader I’m sure that you have many resources to help out, like recommending a specialist, training opportunities or offering a new project/department depending on the issue, aren’t you? You are the manager for Christ’s sake, so you should have some. If not then you should have a conversation with your boss.

As it is stated if you don’t invest then you won’t get anything. And getting a new shining star needs some investment until he/she can kickstart your business.

Should a manager meddle into somebody’s life?

Certainly not, but asking if you can help is an act of kindness and offering some extra leave, extra hours or a month off helps for the whole team. I’m sure that a person on vacation is more useful than the person in with their brain left somewhere else. The best when a person on leave can be reassured that his/her tasks are in good hands. It means that getting back to work doesn’t imply a ton of work with lost deadlines. If I can be sure that my team watches my back then I can be devoted.

Why you should invest?

As a CEO, you have the opinion that an organization is not a charity and your thoughts should not influence business. Sadly, you are searching for a not existing unicorn. In our home office, freelancer world where everybody has an opinion, different expectations and infinite potential to find a new job, you don’t have a chance not to be flexible. Maintaining a good atmosphere at the workplace can be really challenging but listening and solving problems together makes it easier. Sometimes it can be hard and some things can’t be solved. But goodbye can be better than poisoning the whole department.

If you think it’s bullshit then think it through with cold rationality. If an employee has some hardships at their job or private life then they can’t focus on their tasks. They make mistakes that you sure can measure at the end. They can be your high achievers or the most qualified specialist. You don’t want them to burn out and leave the company. Either way, you lose some money but if you make them go, although their problem can be really simple, you can kick start a resign wave. Not a problem, you could say, we hire new ones. Mostly, those departments don’t work with just any random person. Nobody is irreplaceable but replacing somebody can be quite expensive and not that successful. Sometimes adding to morale can be more valuable than offering a raise.

You just ask and everything will go in the right direction.

The most important part of asking is to do something after it. Set up goals, give and ask feedback. Change. Make a difference. As the company wasn’t built in one day and has been through many hardships, the employees will be the same.

Every human is a project. First, their parents project, after that their project and getting into the company their manager’s projects. Everybody should be built up with time and at their own pace. It’ll take time, many mistakes and costs money, but those challenges are the things why you do this, aren’t you?