How to Have Friends at Work When You’re the Boss

2-vector-businessmen-buddiesGirish* is a client of mine who runs a 500-million-dollar business. He gets stellar reviews and is seen as a high potential successor to the CEO.

But he has a friend problem.

Several of his direct reports are close friends and he doesn’t hold them accountable in the same way he does his other direct reports. Often, they don’t do what he asks. And they aren’t delivering the results he expects. It’s hurting his business and his reputation.

When I speak with others on his team about the situation, they see it clearly and resent Girish’s friends. They don’t understand why Girish allows his friends to take advantage of him. And they feel demotivated and disengaged by Girish’s apparent unfairness.

But when I speak with Girish about it, he doesn’t see it at all. He’s filled with empathy for his friends’ struggles, which makes perfect sense since he cares deeply about them. But he’s blind to the damage they’re doing to him and the company.

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Peter Bregman

Peter Bregman

Peter Bregman helps CEOs and their leadership teams break down silos and tackle their most important priorities together. He teaches courageous leadership in an annual Leadership Week. He is the author, most recently, of 18 Minutes: Find Your Focus, Master Distraction, and Get the Right Things Done, a Wall Street Journal best seller, winner of the Gold Medal from the Axiom Business Book awards, named the best business book of the year on NPR, and selected by Publisher's Weekly and the New York Post as a top 10 business book. He is also the author of Point B: A Short Guide to Leading a Big Change and co-author of five other books. Featured on PBS, ABC and CNN, Peter is a regular contributor to Harvard Business Review, Fast Company, Forbes, National Public Radio (NPR), Psychology Today, and CNN as well as a weekly commentator on Fox Business News. Get notified when he writes a new article.

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