Does a Buddy or a Dictator Make the Most Effective CEO?

by Pamela on October 14, 2009

What Kind of Boss are You? Buddy, Dictator, or Somewhere in Between?

This morning, as CEO of my household, I had a staff meeting with my 6 year old son. The rules have gotten a little loose as we all struggle to adjust to him going to full-time kindergarten. He has taken to spreading his toys out in my office when he has a huge playroom of his own. It’s been annoying me for weeks, but I haven’t wanted to have the battle with him over it. When I decided to exert my authority this morning, there was a revolt. My son was looking at me as though I was the meanest mom ever! And, to him, I’m sure it seemed that way. However, this is my little slice of our home and I need to focus on my business when I’m in here, and I’d rather not trip over Lego’s, puzzles, and Luke Skywalker’s X-Wing Fighter.

I was faced with the dilemma that most parents face every day: do I let it go, or nip it in the bud? I want my child to like me. However, it’s more important to me that he respects my rules and decisions as CEO of this family (I recently dubbed myself CEO and gave my husband the General Manager title, but he doesn’t know that yet). Ultimately, I’m the parent and I have to guide my child even if he gets upset with me. I choose not to argue over this issue each day because it’s counterproductive for both of us, so I made the decision to reclaim my office. He’s not happy about it. I know that his feelings are hurt and being the enlightened mom who is also a life coach, I’ll work with him to deal with his feelings. If I ignore them, he’ll grow resentful. I’ll still have it my way, and he’ll have a voice, which is important when enforcing the rules with your kids.

So how does my seemingly silly anecdote about my son relate to your business? Every day, you are faced with decisions about how to run your business. If you have employees, your leadership style influences how your employees perform for you. You make the rules and you choose how closely to enforce them. Are you the boss who wants to be buddies with everyone? If so, how does that work for you? Do you garner respect or do you end up getting walked on? Or do you have a more dictatorial style where you make the rules and everyone must follow them to the letter? Perhaps you fall somewhere in between? Your employees aren’t kids, but they have feelings and they look to you for guidance.

Of course, this topic deserves more space and when my fever breaks and my head clears, I’ll expand on it. For now, I’d love to hear your thoughts!

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