Stop Being A Nice Boss. DARE To Be A Great Leader Instead

It always amazes me the amount of RTO Owners who call me in to help solve their 'people' problems which is code for: it's them, not me.
And yet, upon further discussion and investigation, it is clear the staffing issues are as a result of the lack of simple systems and the Owner being 'too nice'.

This is because instead of dealing with any issue as it arose, they either didn't know how to manage it or didn't want to; so they ignored it, in the hope it would resolve itself on its own or just disappear.

Sound familiar? Then please read on to see why being a nice boss isn't helping you, your staff or your business.

Side issue: If you run the RTO on behalf of the Owner or report to a Board, then this blog is still worth a read – just please change the word 'Owner' with your title.

FOCUS: Embrace Your Role
Now I'm not saying every RTO Owner should do a complete 360 and become tyrants instead. But there is a reason why you own the business. Because it is your business and if you truly want to be the successful RTO Business Owner and not the Reluctant RTO Business Owner, then there will be times when you have to have hard conversations with your staff.

In my book, The Five Little RTO Pigs, I outline the 5 steps to getting CLEAR on your Business, People and Systems. Step 2 is about whether you DARE to Lead.

DARE is an acronym for:
D irection
A ccountability
R esponsibility
E xample

Here's a snapshot of what I mean by DARE to be a Leader.

Leadership begins with Direction so what direction is your RTO taking?

Do you have a clear vision and strategy which you have articulated to your team in words they understand?

Does your strategy need to change due to market shifts, the economy, legislation changes, technology or innovation?

Are your team onboard with the strategy or does it need more work?


Unfortunately I see too many people missing the Accountability step. Mistakes happen and I get that.

As I often said to my girls when I coached junior netball, 'stuff happens. It's about what you do next that matters'. If they had an uh-oh moment because they missed a shot or threw away a pass, I needed them to quickly refocus, switch back on and get the ball back.

Unfortunately, I see too many RTO owners and their staff spending energy on blaming each other or not addressing accountability at all.

Stuff happens so we need to own it. Focus on what you can improve and avoid the mistake next time. It will be much a better use of your energy and time than playing the blame game.


This goes hand in hand with Accountability. I get frustrated when people don't take Responsibility for their own work and own decisions, and the subsequent consequences. In this age of technology, it seems people have lost the art of remembering to do the things they said they would do.

Instead of this responsible behaviour, the trend I'm seeing involves excuses like, 'You didn't send me a text message reminder', or 'You didn't send me an email about that', even when both people were at the same meeting taking notes.


We all know great leaders walk the talk and empower their staff so what's your Leadership Example?

I'm sure you have your own way of describing leadership but a simple definition is 'the activity of leading a group of people or an organisation'.

Simon Sinek, in his latest book The Infinite Game, says "leaders are not responsible for the results. Leaders are responsible for the people who are responsible for the results'.

I love this quote. Not only because I agree wholeheartedly, but it's an opportunity for anyone who's got the top job (aka RTO Owner/CEO/Manager) to ensure they provide their team with the tools, support and clarity they need to undertake their role quickly and easily.

I also believe everyone in a business or organisation is a Leader. What changes is the level of responsibility and delegation.

If you're not sure what you and your team's Leadership Example is or you want it to change, here's 3 key questions for you and your team to ask each other to help this process:

1. What type of Leader am I now?
2. What type of Leader do I want to be?
3. How do members of my team Lead?
What's Next?
Many RTO owners are great technicians in their industry or field of expertise and have a passion for training; but they are not always the best leaders in their business. Why?

Because they don't want to have hard conversations with staff (or themselves) and deal directly with the issues and problems. Doing this means you need to DARE to lead and demonstrate leadership in everything you do.

And here's my final thought

Remember, fixing other people's mistakes without telling them, doesn't teach them the much needed traits of Accountability and Responsibility.

So DARE to be a great leader instead of just a nice boss, and you'll find you can have your cake and eat it too (and your staff will thank you for it).

Dedicated to making your life easier

Author: Tamara Simon
Tamara Simon is Australia's Only Dedicated RTO Business Coach.

For over twenty years, she's been providing overwhelmed RTO Owners, CEOs and Managers with CLARITY about what's WRONG, what's POSSIBLE and what's NEXT so they can grow a simple profitable business.

You can find out more about Tamara Simon and her Coach In Your Corner RTO Membership Program here:
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