If you have never worked with friends and family, either at a conventional job or in your own business, you might imagine it to be one of two things, depending on your relationship to your kith and kin. If you have a great relationship, it can be so much more fun and rewarding than working with strangers, and if you have a so-so relationship, it can be more difficult than working with strangers. But if you have a bad relationship, it can be a catastrophic nightmare that you feel you will never escape from unscathed! That last reason is why you have heard so many people probably tell you, “Never go into business with your family/friends!” Of course, at The Ghannad Group, we did just that and things have worked wonderfully. As such, I’d like to present a few tips for those thinking of doing the same, in hopes that their experience will be just as rewarding as ours. (And just as a side note, I will be focusing more on working with family than friends, but most of this advice is applicable to both situations).
The title of this post has probably already driven some people away and it may have some of you who decided to check it out wondering, “What does love got to do with leadership?” My answer is, of course, “Everything!” That may sound way too “kumbaya,” but I’m not going to apologize for it because it’s the truth. The bottom line is that if you do not love your people, you will fall short in leading them and you will most certainly not serve them to the best of your ability.
Bosses come in all forms and types. While the most basic definition of a boss is “the person in charge,” not all bosses are created equal, if you will. By far, the most common type of boss is the standard, inoffensive “just doing my job” boss. They faithfully carry out their administrative duties, hire and fire people as needed, and settle into their niche of maintaining the status quo harmoniously within the organization. They don’t negatively impact their people, but they don’t necessarily leave a memorable mark on their lives either. This standard type of boss is somewhere in the middle of the bell curve, and of course there’s nothing wrong with this. But it is when we get to the outer edges of that bell curve, that’s when things get interesting. On the edges is where you find the outliers or archetypal bosses, both good and bad, and that’s what I’d like to explore briefly today.
When I first started my professional career as an entry level engineer at a manufacturing plant, my operations manager—my boss’s boss that is—was well-known as someone who made things happen. He had been plateaued at his level in the organization for quite some time, but rumors circulated that apportioned him with more clout than most of his superiors. I later learned that he had made a name for himself in start-ups, which he had led by spurring people into action and making things happen in the short-term, but he was not necessarily known for leading ongoing operations where he had to put sustainable systems in place and demonstrate consistent leadership behaviors. I’m sure we all know a leader or two like that!
I know that I promised that we would be back to our regularly schedule blog posts this week, but I couldn’t shake the feeling that there was still a bit more to elaborate on regarding the topic of my previous post, i.e. “How Not to Be a Leader.” If you haven’t already, I recommend that you read that post before this one, because this is a direct continuation under the assumption that readers are familiar with the ideas discussed previously. With that said, this is intended to be more of an addendum to my previous post, rather than the second part in earnest, and so it will (hopefully) be a slightly more focused treatment of a few more elements of not being a leader. Without further ado, let’s get into it.