Monday, May 12, 2008

Don’t Blur Leadership and Friendship Lines

If you are a manager or leader, can you still be friends with the members of your team? This is just one of the questions new leaders have when they are promoted from staff member to manager. I can remember asking this question.

Just the other day I had a conversation with a friend on the subject of leading the old gang at office. Recently promoted to supervisor, PJ he said his transition would have gone smoother if he had been promoted to lead a group of unknowns. He went on to say his friends are finding it hard to accept that he is now their boss. They are testing him on daily basis.

If you're a leader struggling with the "leadership - friendship lines" situation, check out this article by Steve Adubato. Adubato, author of “Speak from the Heart” and “Make the Connection, " offer sounds advice on establishing leadership and friendship lines.

Here's a preview of the Q&A article:

Question: If you are a manager or leader, can you still be friends with the members of your team?

Adubato: Of course, but being friendly is not the same as being fast-friends or best-buddies. It is fine to shoot the breeze a bit and be sociable, but as soon as you cross the line and start hanging out on a regular basis and engaging in office gossip, you potentially undercut your authority as a leader. Further, good friends often share intimate details about their personal life. There is a temptation to do that with those you work with, however, disclosing too much, such as marital or family problems or personality clashes with co-workers can be dangerous.

Question: So why does it change so significantly when a professional moves from a staff to a management position?

Adubato: In order to succeed as a manger, you must make the tough calls, confront the difficult issues, and you must deal with your former colleagues in a fashion that is not inclined to make you especially popular. Too many people put in leadership positions are consumed with the desire to be liked, which in turn becomes an obstacle to do what is necessary for organizational success. I’m not suggesting leaders/managers must be ruthless and uncaring, however, being “friends” with those who report to you sometimes creates problems.

Read the entire article and see what desire Adubato says can be an huge obstacle for new leaders.

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