I lead a five-department division at a large community college. The division is comprised of a significant number of high-performers – most of whom are women.
During a recent meeting with my direct reports – including those who lead the five departments – I shared tips for leading fairly, ethically and courageously.
- Lead consistently. Assuming that the appropriate factors are the same, colleagues must have the same rules and be treated fairly. If an issue turns into a personnel matter, the consistency will prevent the employee from accusing supervisors of discriminatory behaviors.
- Make me aware of controversies but be prepared to handle them. Matters escalate to human resources when a supervisor has not done his or her part to manage the issue.
- Treat your team well but also hold them accountable
- Treat bad employees with respect until his or her last day of employment
- Never use your supervisor as an excuse to make a hard decision. Cowards should not supervise others.
- Be transparent
- Do not play favorites
- Do not become friends with your employees
- Maintain professional boundaries
- Encourage your team members to call you out – respectfully – to make you a better leader
- Do not badmouth your supervisor at work. Vent at home or have the courage to share your concerns directly with your supervisor. Otherwise, when the backbiting is discovered, it will be hard to repair the relationship.
- Commit to leaving your place of employment better than you found it
- Remember that family comes first
- Celebrate when high-performers leave their positions. You cannot retain them forever.
- Do not mistreat people when they resign. Someone’s decision to resign is not a personal affront to you, so your reaction should not be punitive.
- Know that we will occasionally and unknowingly hire bad employees. It happens. However, we should not retain them.
- Make me aware aware of all personnel issues – no matter how minor they may seem
- Do a lot of self-reflection, which is healthy for leaders to do
- Discuss expectations of your employees and each other – as often as needed