Leader or Friend?
Every time I see a mom and daughter walking down the street in matching mini skirts and skimpy tank tops, I can’t help but cringe. Fairly or unfairly I’ve made the assumption that mom has worked so hard to be her daughter’s friend that she’s forgotten to be a parent.
She’s elevated the desire to be liked above the need to be respected.
I’m sure the motives were good. She wanted to stay connected to her daughter’s life as she enters the horrendous teenage years. She wanted to remain a confidant so that the important things would be shared.
But more often than not, this approach doesn’t work… at least for long. Secretly her daughter wants her mom to be stronger, wiser, and more mature. She needs a confident role model to look up to, not a wannabe peer.
In an attempt to connect, that mom has actually lost influence and respect.
I’ve seen leaders do this too.
In a desire to relate, we become buddies to those we lead. We try to take our proverbial “boss” hat off and just be friends. We socialize. We jump into the office antics.
And some of that is good. But there is a fine line.
Our teams want to feel like we’re the wiser, stronger, responsible ones of the bunch. They want to feel the support of our strength. They want to know that when times get tough, it’s gonna be ok. We’ve got their backs.
There is a time and place for us to lighten up and have fun, but there are also important moments where we need to be a leader, not a friend.
What do you think? Can you be both leader and friend?