I think we have all worked with, or around, a boss who is waaaaay to impersonal, right? Like, he/she doesn’t really take time to connect on a personal level, is always way too busy, and just doesn’t really seem to care, right? It is a pretty common occurrence, unfortunately.
Many who have been in that position swear that, when given a shot at leadership, they will be the exact opposite of that person. He swears he will be a personable, attentive, loving boss that always cares about his employees, much like a best friend would. He remembers this commitment so fiercely, they are really quite committed to it. Sounds good, right?
Well… there’s a downside. A serious downside, if you let that pendulum swing too far the other way.
You see, a boss who is too cold, and impersonal, and detached can fail to build trust and thus not lead effectively. But a boss who goes too far in trying to build trust can actually damage his/her own reputation and trust with others by entering the “friend zone”.
I think of it like this:
The danger zone on the left side is obvious – that’s the one we see frequently and try to correct. The danger zone on the right side (what I will call the “friend zone”) is much less obvious, but in some ways almost equally as dangerous.
Imagine you are a boss, who in an effort to build camaraderie and trust (in addition to satisfying your own desire for something ‘social’ at work, to create a fun work environment) goes to lunch, hangs out after hours, invites others on some weekend activities like concerts, sporting events or other non-work activities. Harmless enough, right? Well, let’s step back and take a look… Continue reading