Strong leadership requires that you develop meaningful relationships with your team. In order to draw out an employee’s greatest assets we must relate to him in ways that are both engaging and inspiring. The challenge, however, lies in creating a balance between identifying with the employee and maintaining a professional boundary. When the need to be liked overpowers the desire to lead, a dangerous dynamic develops between Supervisor and employee-one with catastrophic effects at the professional, programmatic, and organizational level.
Let’s take a look at some of the dangers that come with this kind of a relationship:
- POORLY DEFINED ROLES!- Your team members need to understand who they are and what is expected of them. They also need to understand your role in the organization and how your credentials, experience, and leadership will lead them to excellence. By establishing friendships with your staff you are depriving them of this information by sending mixed messages about everyone’s role on the team. SOLUTION: Be clear about everyone’s roles and your expectations of them! Set an example by establishing who you are and what your team may expect of you. Ensure that your behavior, language, and mannerisms reflect who you are as a leader at all times. Model excellence in all your do and perform your supervisor duties to the best of your abilities. REPEAT AFTER ME…. “I am their leader-not their friend.” Make those job descriptions come to life!
- THEY CAN USE IT AGAINST YOU! I get it-you love your team. You think they are the best thing since sliced bread and believe they can do no wrong. I’m here to tell you that you are officially an IDIOT. Even the most dedicated employee has the capacity to turn on you when their livelihood is threatened. As an Executive Coach I have worked with countless Program Directors who found themselves in their Boss’s office after being reported by their so called “golden child.” Believe me-it happens! SOLUTION: Protect yourself by maintaining boundaries with all of your team members. Remember that this is the workplace and always keep your organization’s mission at the forefront of every decision you make.
- YOUR DEADLINES WILL BE IGNORED! Supervisors are responsible for making things happen. After all, you are helping to run a business. As a solution focused leader, your attention should be on outcomes. Your staff will play a major role in this process by providing documentation for the work they do, relaying important information via email, and helping you to ensure regulatory compliance. By befriending your employees you are more likely to experience resistance in this area. Deadlines will be viewed as suggestions rather than requirements and the information you need will be placed on the back burner. SOLUTION: Establish and maintain boundaries! Set deadlines and remain firm on what you ask for. While flexibility is an important leadership quality it should be used sparingly and with intention. When expectations are not met, be prepared to hold team members accountable.
- THEY WILL EXPECT PREFERENTIAL TREATMENT! By presenting yourself to your team as a “friend” you are entering a relationship marked by closeness and intimacy. This type of a dynamic is unnatural because as a Supervisor, you are in a POSITION OF POWER. The result of poor boundaries is a series of requests for days off, extended deadlines, lateness, and so forth. Your team has learned that you are “one of them” so why shouldn’t they get to do as they wish? SOLUTION: Establish yourself as a leader from day one! Refrain from sharing information about your personal life (marriage, sex life, family) and NEVER engage in conversation around such topics as religion, politics, or money. Any opinion you share about the organization you work for should be positive. If disagree with a policy or are frustrated by management, KEEP IT TO YOURSELF.
- IT’S NOT PROFESSIONAL! By establishing yourself as a “friend” to your team you are sending a message about what you consider to be appropriate behavior in the workplace. By establishing yourself as their “buddy” you are creating an expectation that other Supervisors and companies follow suit. When this does not occur, your employees will be left with a false sense of entitlement which may lead to poor performance, strained relationships, or even job loss. SOLUTION: As a Supervisor you should present yourself in a professional manner at all times. Talk, dress, and behave like a leader. Be a model for them to follow when they move on to another position, program, or organization. Remember: your team is always watching so give them the best possible version of yourself.
Maintaining professional boundaries with your team is sometimes easier said than done! If you, or a Supervisor on your team need development in this area email me at Info@ExcellenceByMonicaGuzman.com for a FREE Executive Coaching consultation.
Employee engagement has recently become a hot topic for many businesses looking for a competitive edge. Leaders are now recognizing the value of human capital and understanding the benefits of retaining quality personnel. High turnover rates, undoubtedly, affect the bottom line by forcing companies to absorb the cost of hiring and training new staff. It decreases morale, interrupts the flow of productivity, and is a detriment to the operations of any business focused on serving its’ target audience. With the employee experience at the forefront of many executive discussions, we are encouraged to explore those factors that promote retention and enhance the overall work experience. Continue reading →
Look around. How many of your coworkers walk around all day like they are absolutely miserable? Professionals of all backgrounds and specialty areas are walking in to work with a frown on their face counting down the hours until 5:00pm. Continue reading →
Most professionals will admit that time management is not their area of expertise. Business Owners, in particular, are
savvy procrastinators who will delay important tasks until the very last minute. This is not only detrimental to the business itself but also an indication of poor leadership. Continue reading →
Why is it that some companies flourish while others remain stagnant? My experience in the nonprofit sector has taught me that organizational success is intentional. It requires careful planning, organized thinking, and intense collaboration. In order to remain competitive in today’s nonprofit market, corporations must continually evaluate their effectiveness in carrying out their mission.
You see them everywhere-people smiling, accomplishing great things, getting raises, reaching new goals. Are they faking it? Do they have a magic formula to life that you don’t know about? The answer is YES. Successful people are intentional in their approach to life and are more apt to follow a set of specific strategies for achieving excellence.
Staff meetings are not typically the most exciting part of an employee’s work experience. Often avoided at any cost, they are regarded as a waste of time and resources for those who would prefer to be productive elsewhere. What most team members fail to realize is that staff meetings are actually an arena for self-promotion. They provide participants with the opportunity to promote their brand, share their ideas, and develop key relationships. For those who play their cards right staff meetings can help get them the job they want and the salary they deserve. Sadly, many employees are CLUELESS and don’t take advantage of what these professional gatherings have to offer. They speak and behave in ways that are destructive and contrary to the image they are trying to build. Are you making some of these mistakes? If you value your position and want to move forward in your career ready below to learn how staff meeting etiquette can help your reach professional Excellence! Continue reading →
So many women sabotage their careers by making mistakes that can be easily corrected. Before you start whining and feeling sorry for yourself take a good luck in the mirror and see if you are guilty of these infractions: Continue reading →
As a Director, I am a leader to a wonderful team of professionals. I love my work and feel privileged to be in a position where I can inspire others along their journey to success. Throughout my years as a Supervisor I have learned a great deal about what it takes to be an effective leader. Below is a summary of my findings:
1. A LEADER INSPIRES. Effective leaders know how to motivate his/her team. He/she is able to draw out each member’s strengths and help them develop as a professional. A leader is someone who a team member looks up to and respects-not only for his/her skill level but for the manner in which he/she approaches life.
2. A LEADER KEEPS HIS/HER PROMISES. A true leader always follows through! A team cannot respect a Supervisor who commits to an idea but then loses interest when confronted with a challenge. In order for a team to excel, it needs a leader who is consistent.
3. A LEADER IS PROFESSIONAL. There is no room for gossip, inappropriate language, or informal attire when in a position of leadership. A true leader know that he/she is a role model and acts as such!
4. A LEADER TREATS HIS/HER TEAM MEMBERS AS EQUALS. True Leadership requires a sense of humility. Staff tend to respect a leader who sees him/herself as a partner within the team-not a Dictator. Degrees and Licenses may look pretty on a wall but true admiration comes from treating others with respect.
5. A LEADER DEMANDS EXCELLENCE. Leadership does not equal laziness! A strong leader recognizes the value of hard work and will never accept mediocrity from the team.
6. A LEADER BUILDS TEAMS. An effective leader develops relationships with his team members. He invests time in each person’s development and takes an active interest in their lives. A Leader recognizes the danger of running an office like a factory and does whatever it takes to be a fully present, active member of the team.
Which of these qualities is the most important to you? What other qualities should we add to this list? If you are a leader in need of Executive Coaching email me now at firstname.lastname@example.org
Lets face it. Humans judge one another on physical appearance before making an assessment on personality, intellect, or values. The world of business is no different. If you want to stand out from the crowd YOU MUST PRESENT YOURSELF AS A WINNER. Remember: you are your own brand! This means that you must dress and groom yourself in a manner consistent with the position you want. Stop for a moment and examine what you are wearing at this exact second. If a stranger walked in and made an assessment of you based solely on your physical appearance how would he/she describe you?
I urge anyone who wants to excel in their current role or land their dream job to make an honest assessment of their physical appearance. Is your hair clean? Do you leave the house without ironing your clothes? Do you wear scruffy shoes to work because they are “comfortable?” Everything about you from head to toe sends a clear message about your brand. If your appearance is messy then you are sending the message that your WORK IS MESSY.
Ladies and gentlemen…PLEASE take your physical appearance as seriously as you do your goals. Before you leave to work on Monday morning look in the mirror and ask yourself, “what message am I sending to the world today?”