The Power of Leadership and Friendships

Having friendships with your co-workers and followers is necessary when it comes to enjoying your work, living a significant life, and influencing others. Being the best leader and friend to your people can impact whether they keep following you or not. In fact one of the main reasons people leave their job is because of a manager or leader. Gallup conducted a poll of more than 1 million people and they found, “People leave managers not companies…in the end, turnover is mostly a manager issue”(click here to Tweet that) or leadership issue.

The key is for people in authority to develop and maintain genuine friendships with others. Since this is an important aspect of leading effectively then what are some characteristics of a friend? In the book Social Psychology the authors say,

  • Friends participate as equals.
  • Friends enjoy each other’s company.
  • Friends trust one another to act in their best interests.
  • Friends help each other in times of need.
  • Friends act themselves around one another and do not “wear masks.”
  • Friends share similar interests and values.

These are some foundational aspects of friendships. To cultivate friendships with others I suggest:

Building Trust- Trust is at the foundation to every good friendship. A leader should be the first one to give trust to someone else. Trust starts small and over time it increases until both people fully trust each other. Once the trust is built it’s essential to protect it at all cost.

Listen- When having a conversation with someone it should have a balance between you talking and listening. If one person does the majority of the talking most of the time then the relationship will not fully develop. This requires not stealing the conversation by overly talking.

Finding what drives them- Take time to discover and focus on the other person’s interests, passions, and likes. This shows the person you care and are interested in them. When you find what touches a person’s heart you will find what drives them.

Look at the person’s future– A true friend focuses on the potential and future of a person. They encourage and inspire the person to move forward and reach for their dreams. This means they focus on the person’s future and not their flaws or weaknesses. Remember, when we speak highly of our friends then they often rise to what we have said.

Respecting the person- It is important to respect others beliefs and values even if they do not match your own. This does not mean we must adapt to them but we should be respectful of what they believe and value.

Show gratitude- Having a grateful and thankful attitude about life and your relationships can help you have and maintain strong friendships. Make sure you speak and behave in a positive way and regularly show your gratitude to the people in your life.

Implement these things into your relationships so you can cultivate friendships with others.

Question:  How do you build and maintain friendships with the people you lead and work with?

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • This is such a great point that I bet a lot of people miss out on and I love all your ways of building friendship – especially looking at the person’s future and respecting them. It’s always great to be with a positive person who builds you up – plus it’s easier to accept criticism from that type of person. I also thought your picture for the post was really fun!

    • I’m glad you enjoy the post. Thank you for reading and sharing.

  • Great words!

    I really like what you said about looking at a friends future and all their potential! I think that’s part of how God views us.

    This part is golden- “When you find what touches a person’s heart you will find what drives them.”
    That is so true! Too often we are shallow in our relationships and don’t really know our “friends” Great post.

    • Glad some of my thoughts helped and positive impacted your life. Thank you for reading and sharing.

  • I would add pray for them, even if they are difficult to work with. Prayer changes our hearts and helps us to genuinely care for the people we’re praying for, and people will know if you genuinely care or if you’re just trying to get them to like you.

    • Amen! Great addition Jason. Praying makes the difference.

  • I think this is one area you really excel in Dan, you are good in building great online networks and friendships. I have discovered that most people appreciate genuineness/authenticity. Most folks can smell a phony a mile away and it’s hard to build anything with someone who is not honest.

    • Being honest and authentic is essential. I agree, people can “smell” a phony a mile away, if we are not our true self then it will only hurt our influence and friendship. Thank you for sharing.

  • Great thoughts, Dan. True friends help bring out the best in the other, as they help and empower them to succeed. Also, friends take on an attitude of servant leadership. They are willing to put aside their own agenda to help the other.

    • Great point, serving our friends is important. Thank you for adding to the list.

  • floyd

    I think you genuinely have to care about others. A heart from God does just that, we can’t fake it. That’s the difference between a leader and a salesman… Nice job, Dan. I think we always need a reminder.

    • I totally agree with you Floyd. Thank you for reading and sharing. I appreciate it.

  • I’d love to see the flipside of this as well, when friendships hurt your leadership? I’ve heard many avoid friendships because of that, be cool to see a follow up on it. What do you think?
    M_

    • Marc, great idea. I’ll start thinking about and outlining it. Thank you for reading and sharing.

  • Nice article, Dan, but of course leaders must also set boundaries at times, too. I’ve had a couple great bosses (deans) that were great friends, too. But in education, it’s not always appropriate for the dean to get too close to faculty members as it can create an image of favoritism and cause strife.

    • I totally agree Dan. At the end of the points I have a paragraph about that but took it out because I did not want to have a longer post. A leader must have appropriate boundaries. A leader needs to be responsible with in their position and that might mean disciplining or even letting a person/friend go. Thank you for mentioning that.

  • Great post Dan. I make sure that I keep in communication with team constantly. Its being yourself and letting your personality come through. If you genuinely care about people you will connect with them and care for them.

    • Keep it up Lincoln Parks, it’s all about building relationships and being our self. Thank you for reading and commenting.

  • Not only does it have these benefits, but it just seems natural. We were made for community. It’s healthy and fun.

    • I totally agree, thank you for stopping by and reading.

  • Dan,

    Great post! I would just urge everyone to remember two things. The difference between kindness and familiarity. Secondly, do not be mislead by the word friend. Honestly, I would not have used the word friend because it is so easily misunderstood. Team members, often equate friendship with a lack of accountability.

    I understand your point, though! Leadership is about relationships.

    Thanks Dan!

    • Great additional points, I get what your saying. I think it depends though on the person and the environment.

      My goal was to share with others the importance of having relationships and friendships with the people you work with and lead. For example I have a relationship with the people I work with, however I consider only have a couple really close friends at work. Those friendships make going to work easier.

      Thank you for reading and sharing.