Getting The Balance Right: Leading & Managing Well

Striking a Balance Between Being a Friend and a Boss
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Your coworkers talk to you about personal issues and these relationships often lead to friendships and contact outside of work. As a leader, managers and bosses have to be careful of the way they conduct themselves with their employees. There are lines that should not be crossed, for a variety of reasons. On one hand, you should avoid extremely close personal friendships with employees, but on the other, you need to let them know you care about them as individuals, not just as workers.

When you are leading a team, you have more responsibilities. Those responsibilities include making tough decisions and evaluating employees. Imagine having to evaluate someone who is very close to you. Or imagine having to fire a person you became good friends with over the years. Kim Scott , co-founder of Candor, Inc, says that good bosses need to show that they care on a personal level.

However, she also says that good managers need to challenge their employees directly.

What Is Leadership? And Can You Learn to Be a Good Leader?

What happens next is predictable. The management was viewed as being very solid. As business leaders and managers, we […]. All they need is permission to go off and try the new approach. I have seen such an imbalance between Managment and Leadership in Federal Government. Functional chimneys are turning into pipelines.

According to Kim, employees need guidance, not close friendships from their managers. This balance is something she calls Radical Candor.

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As a leader, you need to avoid any perception of favoritism, and helping out a buddy at work is the definition of favoritism. Employees notice favoritism almost instantly and the resentment starts building up fast. If you are going out for drinks every night with one of your employees and hanging out with that person on the weekends, be certain that all of your other staff members will notice.

Manager vs. Leader Personality

This can lead to the creation of a perception of favoritism and unfair treatment, even if it does not really exist. Career development opportunities should be strictly based on performance and skills.

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For example, you may overlook their mistakes because you have an emotional connection with them. Your friendship with an employee should never influence your decisions about raises, assignments and layoffs. Letting go of the underperforming employees is something that you have to do, regardless of how much you might be clicking with them on a personal level.

However, leadership and management are two distinctively different, though complementary, systems of action.

Why You Can’t Be Best Friends

Managers are continually faced with new challenges and dilemmas. Getting the balance right is never straightforward, however. We are always having to find. Editorial Reviews. About the Author. Peter Shaw is a founding partner of Praesta Partners, one of Europe's leading executive coaching firms. He was formerly a.

Management is about controlling tasks and creating order in an environment, while leadership is about influencing and motivating staff. Without structured management and control, a business can snowball into chaos. Management is crucial to the success of every and any business, regardless of the industry or business size. Without successful leadership, employees are not motivated to do any more than the bare minimum — also eventually leading to chaos and disorder. What our businesses today need are managers who lead, inspire and motivate employees to achieve business-wide goals.

Relying too heavily on one or the other can be detrimental to a business. A large part of being a productive leader is to build and foster relationships with employees, and to encourage employees to build solid relationships with one another. Looking at the long term, healthy relationships in the workplace build an environment where employees want to complete their tasks and are not forced to do so, where they would otherwise grow to resent you as a manager.

While you may be managing your employees and seeing tasks are completed, a bitter relationship will form and employees will approach work halfheartedly. Finding a balance between management and leadership can come down to healthy relationships, inspiring staff and a productive environment that fosters growth and achievement.

Keep in regular contact with your employees, hear about what your employees are doing and what they have on their plate.

8 Ways to Become a Better Leader

They will appreciate that you take the time to understand their daily tasks and the effort you put into talking to them. Hold your employees accountable for their tasks and to-do lists. Offer guidance to your employees but let them make decisions when possible. This makes them feel valuable and encourages them to learn more, which they will grow to appreciate. As a manager or as a leader, the ultimate goals are the same — the path to get there is where they differ.

But ultimately, we need to find the balance between the two, no matter how difficult it seems. Building lasting relationships, creating a productive and inviting atmosphere, and ensuring that the necessary tasks are being completed beyond expectations — that is what we seek in the workplace.


As respected relationships are built between employees, a productive environment will self-generate: one that fosters employee growth and communication, and ultimately leads to a successful business. Photo: Leadership vs management by Olivier Carre-Delisle. Another important idea here is that often leadership comes from people who are not the managers. A sports team exemplifies this best—the team captain may do much more to motivate high levels of play than the coach or manager might. In our business organizations, the same often holds true.

A competitve individual might drive performance, a nurturing one, or even a person who is simply intensely devoted to the mission of the organization or of a particular project or cause.

Finding the Balance Between Leadership and Management

As managers, one of the most important things we can do in our general leadership role is to identify who those people are, and to give them the latitiude to help us drive exceptional performance through their own special leadership skills. Good article. I have seen such an imbalance between Managment and Leadership in Federal Government. In one agency it was all leadership with little management. In another agency it has been all management and little leadership.

Funny thing is that in the all managment agency they send their up and coming to leadership training and time and time again I see if you are managment oriented even leadership training cannot help you if you go back to a heavily Managed organization. I am leadership oriented and was excited after Leadership training only to come back to a management agency that is unable to accept my new ideas.

Have now settled to lead teams and give up on every getting into management. Team leaders can get the job done. Leading and Managing Well. Date: pages: ISBN: We are always having to find the right point of equilibrium between leading and managing, the short and long term, the individual and the team, activity and reflection, an. Similar books. Public Folders 0. Private Folders 0. Courses 0. Comments 0.