Most leaders want to be liked by their team members, yet some have a difficult time drawing the line between personal and professional relationships in the workplace. As a leader, you don’t want to seem unapproachable or standoffish; but you also don’t want your team to forget that you’re there to guide them. A smart leader seeks to find a balance in this area.
Following these simple guidelines will ensure your work relationships are meaningful and productive:
Get to know the people you work with
Great leaders know who they lead. It’s no secret that personal connection creates a better work environment and leads to better results. Jason Goldsmith is a perfect example of someone who leads out of personal connection. In Jason’s work as a performance coach to top professional athletes, his first priority when taking on new clients is to ask lots of questions to get to know them better. Experience has taught him that bonding with his clients makes him more effective at his job. To learn more about Jason, check out his podcast on oGoLead.com.
It’s simple to connect with those you lead. Start by asking your team members for three interesting facts about themselves. Ask about their background, dreams, and families. Doing this shows you care about them as individuals. Once people know you care about them, they will care about you.
Make sure you keep enough distance to be objective
While it is important to connect with the people you lead, you don’t want to get so close that you are unable to be objective around them. Sometimes being a leader requires you to take a step back and be a coach. This is hard to do if you become too involved. Leaving enough distance will allow you to keep an objective view about your team members so that you can still gauge a person’s talent and capabilities while giving the right feedback when necessary.
If you implement both of these approaches, you’ll have no problem striking the right balance with your team.