When you think of Tina Fey, three things probably come to mind: her spot-on Sarah Palin impression, her hit show "30 Rock" and her friendship with fellow funny woman Amy Poehler. But the former "Saturday Night Live" star is much more than a comedienne.
In fact, Fey has a lot to say about leadership. Business owners can learn a lot from her sense of humor and can-do attitude. Here are five tips from Tina Fey on being a successful leader.
1. Set high standards.
To be a good leader, you have to start with a good team. Hire people with skills and potential, and then challenge them to do their best work. "It's just about assembling people who are talented and then hopefully inspiring them to have a work ethic similar to yours. I do like to start on time; I like to set the bar high for people,” Fey said in an interview with The New York Times.
2. Know what your employees need.
Each work environment is unique, so your leadership style has to adapt to the company culture. "Well, trying to be a leader in a sort of very atypical workplace like ‘Saturday Night Live' forces you to realize that no one wants you to be their leader. If you can help them get their thing on TV or whatever, they want that. But no adult is looking for a role model," Fey told The New York Times.
As a business owner, you already know what you need from your employees, but consider what your employees need from you, too. Do they need someone hands-on to train and mentor them? Do they need a more laid-back office environment? Make sure your leadership style meets those needs.
3. Don't waste your time on conflicts.
Regardless of your work environment, you're bound to encounter the occasional conflict. The key to being a good leader is to know when to let things go and when to stand your ground. No matter what, use your time wisely. "Again, don't waste your energy trying to educate or change opinions. Go 'Over! Under! Through!' and opinions will change organically when you're the boss. Or they won't. Who cares?" Fey wrote in her book, "Bossypants."
4. Don't be a control freak.
"The idea of being in control for the sake of control is not really important to me. If everyone is sharp and doing what they're doing well, you don't really need to be in control all the time," Fey said in an interview with NPR. If you've hired and trained a great team of employees, there should be no need to micromanage. It might be difficult to take a step back from constantly monitoring your team, but a little trust can go a long way in making sure your business is successful and your employees are at the top of their game.
5. Be proactive at problem solving.
The only way to solve a problem is to take action. "Whatever the problem, be part of the solution. Don't just sit around, raising questions and pointing out obstacles. We've all worked with that person. That person is a drag," Fey wrote in "Bossypants." Fey suggested making statements, not asking questions. By asking too many questions, you show a lack of confidence to your employees, and you put pressure on them to solve all your problems for you. A good leader weighs the pros and cons, asks for input when needed, and makes smart decisions.