How wonderful to talk on a leadership dilemma with people from all over the world! During our leadership webinar, last Monday, we had the privilege of welcoming participants from amongst others Austria, The Netherlands, Switzerland, the United States and Australia. Together, we exchanged knowledge and experiences, and answered the question: ‘Can you, as a leader, be friends with the people in your team?’ In this article we gladly share the most striking discussion points and outcomes, as well as the recording and the handout.

It became clear from the discussion during the webinar that the answer to the question ‘Can you, as a leader, be friends with the people in your team?’ is not clear-cut. That’s because it depends. On various elements, such as personal expectations, cultural differences and external factors.

All considered, the answer is both ‘yes’ and ‘no’.

No, because it is very hard for people to think, act and do as both leader and friend. Knowing when to be the one, and when to be the other. And even if the two of you can do this perfectly, there are other colleagues involved, which may not be able to.

Yes, because the positive effects are numerous, and likely outweigh the negative ones. If you as a leader can handle this dilemma, and other people’s opinions of your way of dealing with it, we recommend you go for it!

Here is a 3-step roadmap, to help you succeed:

Step 1:

Make clear that in a leader/friend relationship you will always be professional, and that that you will fire your friend, if needed.

Step 2:

Clearly distinguish where you are coming from – personal of professional – to everybody involved in every professional situation.

Step 3:

Accept that things can change on a personal level; no matter how hard you try. And even if the personal relationship ends, your professional one should remain in tact.

Watch the replay

The first 5 minutes we spent on the introduction and explaining technicalities. So you might want to jump in at 05:09, when we start discussing the leadership-friend dilemma.

Check out and download the handout

To download the handout, click on the LinkedIn (IN) icon below.

Bonus: praise often, and do it wisely

As an extra bonus, you might like to watch the video below. In this TED Talk Stanford professor Dr. Carol Dweck – a pioneering researcher in the field of motivation, why people succeed and how to foster success, (see slide 16) – explains the importance of fostering a growth midset, by praising wisely.

Join the 30 Day Leadership Challenge

Would you like to become a better leader? To learn how you can be even more successful by building on your vision, authenticity, courage and integrity? We invite you to join our free 30 Day Leadership Challenge. You are more than welcome!

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