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Author Archive for Colleen Kettenhofen

Moving from Buddy to Boss

Thursday, July 18th, 2013

Leaders must be close enough to relate to others, but far enough ahead to motivate them.”
~ John C. Maxwell

Friendships with your employees – when, if ever, is it appropriate? This is one of the most difficult questions for managers to answer. From an academic HR standpoint, the answer is often cut and dry – It’s never appropriate. However, in the real world, it’s often not that simple.

Relationships between between simply can’t be governed by corporate policy. Managers are not unfeeling robots. It’s only natural, after spending time, day in and day out, with people that there are going to be some people you like. In fact, to move from manager to a true leader, you need to be supportive and caring with your employees. However, does this mean it’s OK to be both buddy and boss?

In a word – no.

Although you do want to develop a trusting relationship based on mutual respect, between yourself and your employees, there still needs to be well-defined boundaries. You may be “friendly.” but you are, in the end, their boss, first and foremost. Here are four reasons why you have to move away from “buddy” if you’re the boss.

  1. Even if your actions and treatment of a person are completely unbiased, if they are your friend, others will perceive anything favorable as favoritism.

  2. Even when you’re trying to be unbiased in the treatment of your employees, you may subconsciously treat those who are your friends more favorably. It’s a natural tendency to treat people we have a personal relationship better than those we don’t.

  3. It is difficult to fully fulfill the duties of manager, when the employee in question is a friend. This includes – honest reviews, disciplinary actions, even firing the friend.

  4. You open up your company to potential lawsuits. Each time your friend receives favorable treatment (raise, promotion, etc.), even if it’s well-deserved, you risk a discrimination lawsuit from the other employees. Even if your company wins the suit, the process is often costly.

About Colleen Kettenhofen, Leadership Expert

CREDENTIALS: Colleen Kettenhofen is an international workplace and employee management expert, award-winning corporate trainer, and conference keynote speaker. A media veteran, she has appeared on numerous radio shows around the country and has written more than 40 popular articles on diverse workplace issues. Colleen has delivered more than 1,100 entertaining programs in 48 states and five countries. She is the author of 10 published audio programs and two books including SECRETS YOUR BOSS ISN’T TELLING YOU.

Colleen Kettenhofen is available for keynotes, breakout sessions, and seminars by calling (623)340-7690.

You don’t need a title to be a leader.
~ Multiple Attributions

You may have learned important skills while you were in school; however, chances are, they didn’t teach you how to be a leader. Although technical skills are important, they’re only a part of your career development puzzle. Leadership skills are what will set you apart from the pack and boost you to the top of your career field. This is why leadership skills development is so important, and everyone has room for improvement.

Practice Good Listening Skills for Leadership Skills Development

If you want to be an effective leader, where people listen to you, you need to begin by listening to them. One of the most important areas of leadership skills development is improving your listening skills. When you listen to someone, give them your full attention, ask questions to confirm you’re hearing what they’re saying correctly, and watch your body language.

Take Initiative for Chances to Develop Your Leadership Skills

Leadership skills development also involves taking the initiative to take on leadership roles. Although you may be assigned leadership positions that can help you improve your skills, don’t wait for others to offer these opportunities. Volunteer for projects, both within your job scope and for multifunctional projects, and take the lead role to get leadership experience. Even if you’re already in a leadership position, by leading new people, you learn ways to deal with different personalities and challenges.

Great Leadership Inspires Others

Inspiring others is another key step in leadership skills development. The difference between a manager and a true leader is this – A manager tells people what to do and ensures it is done. A leader inspires people to want to things that need to be done. Inspire those around you. Learn what motivates them. Recognize when others are having challenges, and address these and encourage them to persevere. Always serve as a good example.

Never Stop Learning for Career-Long Leadership Skills Development

I don’t care if you’ve been in your career two years or 22 years – never stop learning! From industry specific knowledge to dealing with difficult employees, there is always new knowledge out there for you to learn and continue in your journey of leadership skills development. Never become so arrogant to think there is nothing more you can learn. Continuously challenge yourself, and you’ll find your career that much better for it.

About Colleen Kettenhofen, Leadership Expert

CREDENTIALS: Colleen Kettenhofen is an international workplace and employee management expert, award-winning corporate trainer, and conference keynote speaker. A media veteran, she has appeared on numerous radio shows around the country and has written more than 40 popular articles on diverse workplace issues. Colleen has delivered more than 1,100 entertaining programs in 48 states and five countries. She is the author of 10 published audio programs and two books including SECRETS YOUR BOSS ISN’T TELLING YOU.

Colleen Kettenhofen is available for keynotes, breakout sessions, and seminars by calling (623)340-7690.