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Teams Need a Leader - Not a Friend

Friendliness can lead to conflict in the long term

Just because a person in a position of leadership is liked does not mean he or she is a competent leader. Although the boss-employee relationship is of paramount importance, when relationships become misaligned with organizational goals, team problems shortly follow. A pattern that’s easy to miss: A faltering team that belongs to a likeable leader.    

Overly “nice” leaders often create unintended and unnecessary team drama because their overriding priority is to be liked and to avoid conflict.  Here are three styles that nice leaders often use to unintentionally create team drama.   

Best friend
New leaders often have not developed the leadership identity they need to set boundaries, initiate difficult conversations and separate their feelings from the facts of their job. They often thrive at first during the honey-moon period when everyone gets along, but falter when reality sets in. Reality begins when Kim complains about Chris. The best friend leader is more invested in making sure no one gets their feelings hurt than giving honest feedback and guidance. Instead of coaching Kim and Chris to work out their differences, the best friend listens, offers explanations and short term tactics  to create harmony. If push comes to shove, the best friend leader takes sides to protect his own turf, thus creating trust violations.

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