I get told over and over that the leader can’t be friends with their team. That they can’t address poor behaviour or make the hard calls if they have a drink with their staff outside of the office.

I recognise that some situations can be quite tricky. But as a leader it is vital that you have a good relationship with your team members.

Because the problems of our team members become our own; that is they impact on how our team performs.

We need to know what is going on with all the members of our team. We need to have a relationship with them.

This takes time. Lots of time. You can’t rush relationships. Saying hello in the morning and goodbye at the end of the day is not a relationship.

Those relationships are crucial when we have to give feedback.

It’s much easier to tell someone that there is a problem if you have a relationship with them. You will know how to start that conversation; you will be in a better position to manage that situation. You will be able to provide empathy because you will have some understanding as to what is going on in their life that might impacting on their performance at work.

Get to know your team. Break bread together. Take an interest in their personal life. Know what football team they barrack for. Your not a robot – you’re their leader.

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