Sometimes we as leaders are put in a position of authority and suddenly we realize we’re called to lead our friends. It’s in this moment it all hits us… How do I lead those who are friends of mine? Will they respect me? Will they follow my lead? How do I get them to invest in my plan?
Maybe you were just promoted and the rest of your ‘past co-workers’ now work for you instead of with you. No matter what the situation, sometimes we are faced with the challenge of leading our own friends and peers.
Leadership, as we all know, is much more than a position of authority. It’s so much more than a title. There’s a big difference between boss and leader. The struggle with your friends working for you is that it is far more difficult to gain their respect as their leader and not just their boss.
There are four key areas of focus that will help each one of us when we find ourselves in these situations. Today I am only discussing one of them…
Lets boil leadership down to the most simple aspect… people follow others who can take them somewhere they havent been or can’t go. Does that make sense? No one wants to follow someone who can’t take them somewhere. That would be a colossal waste of time for both us and those we are trying to lead.
If you were planning a trip to visit Nashville, the city I have lived in for many years now, you may reach out to me for suggestions of what to do, where to eat and who to see. You would want someone to help point out a few areas of interest to maximize your time here, right? Now imagine your friend from Bellingham, WA who has never been to Nashville and tries to tell you that they can help you plan your visit.
There’s no question as to who’s advice you will follow. We don’t want someone to lead us who is just as good at taking a guess as we are. We want someone we feel can actually point us in the right direction… and as leaders that’s our goal. Leaders are obsessed with taking people somewhere they aren’t able to take their place.
Therefore what we’re all seeking is someone with a vision. Someone who can lay out the map for us and say, go here and check out this event and I’ll meet you at this coffee shop along the way to see how you’re doing. We want people in our lives who can add to our lives… and make them better. We want leaders with vision in our lives.
So take the time to process your vision for the organization, ministry, company, family, relationship or division. Explain in detail where you are going to take people as their leader and what you want to do as a team together. This will not only cause people to have respect for you but it will also build unity among your team.
In Short: People want a compelling vision. They need a leader to show them that vision.