As I mentally prepare myself to return to work, I’m trying to decide what type of leader I want to be. Managing people for almost 7 years I’ve learned that in order to improve as a leader I have to constantly change my strategy and approach. What works for some people doesn’t work for others. And every time I’m assigned to a different location to lead a new team of people, I find myself trying to mold and change their ways.

Being a leader at my job means being the bad guy. I am the person who has to make the hard decisions. I have to make decisions based on what’s best for the business and not necessarily what’s best for my workers. Being the bad guy means I have to remove my emotions and be the neutral party. And I’m ok with that. I’m good at managing. I enjoy  seeing the fruits of all my hard work. I put my heart and soul into what I do. I have sacrificed my time and sanity to my work. And I’m ok with being known as a strict and tough leader. 

Leading by example is essential and for the first time ever I have to be a working mother. Many times I have had issues with my workers because they struggle to keep commitments due it their children. While I internally sympathized with them I still had a job to do and if they couldn’t keep their commitments; regardless of the reason I had to be firm and institute disciplinary actions. Now as a mother I truly understand what that can feel like. What type of leader will I be now that I’m a mother?

In the past I was able to work overnight, pull 12 hour shifts. Run to my store at moments notice and be available to my people literally 24 hours a day. Can I really do that now as a mother? Should I even want to? Can I really miss deadlines when my daughter is sick or under perform due to lack of sleep from a crying baby at night. Can I really allow myself to slack and expect my people not to? I never allowed my workers to use their personal life as an excuse, so how can I?

I think that eventually I’ll learn how to balance the two. My daughter will always be my top priority but if I want to provide for her I need to excel at work. Managing people is not a new job for me. Being mommy and boss is. And the type of leader I want to be is one who can be compassionate but firm. One who could make others follow her tune without instilling fear in them. One who will love her daughter above everything and will teach her the value of honest work and always staying true to her commitments.