Have the Pizza You Want

At dinner the other night a couple of us were ordering small pizzas and the person I was with, who is incredibly nice, asked me what I like on a pizza so he knows what to order for himself. That seemed a bit odd, but he said, “well, that way we can share.”

I like sharing…I really do. But sometimes, you need to have the pizza you want to have, regardless of whether or not other people like pineapple on theirs.

We talk so much about follower-centric leadership and taking care of your employees and increasing employee engagement, and all those concepts are important. Sometimes, though, you really need to think about what YOU want, or what you need to have happen to get the business results that are best for you. While it’s important to think about what others want or need, that cannot be ALL you think about. Just as everyone else’s concerns and requirements matter, so too do yours.

One of the hardest things a leader has to do, and the reason you get paid the big bucks (hopefully), is maintain balance in the workplace. Sometimes that means balance between competing employees, sometimes it’s the balance between requirements and resources, and sometimes it’s a balance between your employees’ needs and desires and yours. Just because you are the boss does not mean you always get your way, but it also doesn’t mean you need to subjugate everything you want to do to the preferences of your employees.

That’s a tough thing to do sometimes, because your employees may seem awfully demanding. The working environment often needs to be just right, they sometimes expect you to manage their peer relationships, egos can occasionally get in the way, and they often need feedback…a LOT of it. While you want to keep them motivated, you also need to draw a line sometimes and say “no, this is the way it’s going to be.” That gets harder to do the longer you cater to their needs at the expense of your own, so try to strike that balance earlier rather than later.

For the record, my dinner companion went ahead and ordered his pizza without the pineapple, just for me. The restaurant seemed to have trouble with the whole “take something off the pizza” concept, and so it showed up with the pineapple still on it. And you know? Not too bad. So go ahead and have your pizza the way you want it, and maybe your employees will realize they like it that way after all.