A few weeks ago I was speaking at an event and was asked the following question from one of the attenders.
“As a supervisor, how do I gain more authority when many us are the same age and have relationships outside of work.”
We can all relate to times when the lines between work and play become blurred, especially if we work with people we consider friends.
Note: Maybe it’s just me, but why would you want to work with people you don’t consider friends? Life is too short!
Assuming we can all get along, then how do we keep the boundaries clear between leader and follower?
Here are four things to consider:
- Don’t be afraid to lead. If you hope to accomplish something great, it is going to require courage. If the leader is afraid of stepping on toes, the team is doomed from the start.
- Think others first. Many times when we are concerned about establishing authority, it is an indicator we are thinking about what others can do for us. The best leaders think other’s first, seeking to add value to those they lead. In the end, servant leaders create a culture where team members gladly submit to authority. High performance teams are ones where followers recognize their leader cares for them as much as he does himself.
- Communicate with clarity. Many times people don’t live inside the boundaries because the boundaries haven’t been made clear. Don’t be afraid to talk about what is expected. When a person agrees on the expectations up front it is much easier to hold them accountable when standards are not met.
- Value relationships and results. Teams achieve more than individuals do. If you really want to maximize your potential, don’t underestimate the power of working together with people you love. While there is a mountain to climb, who you climb it with is of equal importance. Many leaders have made it to the top only to find themselves miserable because they failed to bring others along to share in the celebration.
Accept the reality that lines of authority will always challenge teams. Your team can win the battle if you will lead with courage, humility, clarity, and love.
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