Column: Observing the World, previous column: Too Blunt for Words
Fatma (Fay), Emirati girl, with an experience in Corporate Communications and CSR. She is passionate about anything that is traditional and Emirati. In her free time she loves to watch Japanese anime, read manga, and play videogames. Spas are not the only thing that relaxes her, but cooking as well.
Fay’s columns observe work-life experiences and balance. A lot of her articles are based on first-hand personal experiences and issues she has seen or been part of. She loves to observe her surroundings, and watch how people handle different situations they’ve been put in.Also, she is trying to balance the art of staying positive at work and helping her peers understand that not everything should be a problem. With her writings she hopes to make a difference and make people more observant of the little problems in life, or work that hasn’t escalated to a catastrophe. It’s the little things that matters.
Latest posts by Fatma AlKhaja (@fay_alkhaja) (see all)
Everyone has the tendency to be nice. Nice is good, but is there such thing as being too nice as a boss? What do I mean by this? A too nice of a boss means that he/she is always agreeable, always flexible, and always ‘okay’ with your work (regardless of missing deadlines, likenesses, etc…) I’ve heard this quite a lot in a working environment where employees comment on a certain individual that he/she is too nice.
I decided to do a little digging and find out more. Doing some research with Human Resources (HR), and checking some references. I found out that it is always the ‘nice’ bosses that have the worst employee team record which includes:
- 65% Late attendance
- 70% Absenteeism
- 35% Emergency leave during work, and etc…
- 80% Less work pressure
- 77% Missed deadlines
I, myself, was called a nice boss in my earlier work experience and noticed that my employees tend to play a bit more than everyone else. Being late was a tad bit more frequent, sudden step-outs of the office was also repetitive, in fact I noted a trend. I was even able to predict their outcomes, for example if one of the ladies came in without any makeup, started coughing, and announced every 10 minutes that they had a headache, I knew that the request to leave early was due any minute, and I also knew that I was not seeing that employee the day after as a text will be sent to me first thing in the morning informing me of their leave of absence.
- Illustration by SYAC
What would you do in such a situation? Believe them? Accuse them of lying? Or simply let it go?
If you’re mandated by the HR in your organization to abide by the laws and regulations (policies) in your organization then for every employee being late and absent you (THE manager) will therefore be questioned. For example, in some work sectors you have to file a monthly report of your employees’ records on their achievements, timings, attendance, etc…
I have sat down with the employees, explained the policies, and even sent out some warning letter on lateness, yet still the same cycle goes on repeating itself. When I am harsh, and allow for my anger to rise, it is still the same reaction. Then what would you call this? Disrespect of authority?
To contradict myself, if I was a boss that’s too strict, I don’t think I want the employees to have an element of fear in the office either. It’s important that you maintain a good relationship with your employees, and have them fear you out of respect, yet not be petrified of you.
Let me give you an example, I was afraid of my boss. I didn’t dare go ask him to leave early to the bank (for emergency) because I’d rather let the emergency slide than bow down and hear him shout ‘no’ with a menacing glare, but is it worth it when I miss the emergency errand I really had to take?
This boss was not flexible under any circumstances. You had to be at work at 8am. You had to leave at 4pm sharp. You don’t work on weekends. If you’re out in a meeting, then you’re expected back in the office. I understand that some individuals like to abide by rules, but there should always be some room for flexibility.
We are all human. You can’t be too nice, and you can’t be too strict. There should be some balance in between. Be flexible when it is needed, yet be strict when you feel that it’s needed as well. This is a lessons learned for me.
I would love to hear your comments, examples, and how you changed your attitude towards making a good work environment.