So I’ve seen it both ways…
There are those who “lead” by friendship, as if the workplace is one big playpen; and the notion is that those who have the most office buddies wins; to them it’s not the mission or work that is important but rather it’s a popularity contest, plain and simple–they are immature and still stuck in the preschool mode of thinking about what leadership is and how to work productively with others.
Then there are others who “lead” by tyranny–it is a one person show and they are it; no one else has an viewpoint or idea that matters; anyone else who is good to great is a threat to them–they are insecure and narcissistic and the scariest thing in the world to them is to surround themselves with people smarter than themselves or give credit, respect, and honor to others.
Now there is nothing wrong with doing a coffee, lunch, or happy hour, networking, and building relationships with good people…in fact, interpersonal skills is a critical part of the job and of success.
However, those who flutter around smoozing it up with anyone and everyone, and unlike normal working discussions that have a congenial, “how you doing?” aspect and a serious, let’s get down to business part, these social butterflies never get past the game on last night, their trip to Paris, or their one night stand…it’s all personal, conferences, speeches, but no real work getting done (maybe some smoke and mirrors).
Similarly, there are times, when decisions need to be made and the debate must end, and not everything in the office can be a vote where majority wins–sometimes tough decisions and trade-offs need to be made, authority exercised, and responsibility taken.
Nevertheless, it’s when moderation and good judgement is lost and a person’s emotional issues, personality disorders, and social anxieties take over that they act the fool–and they either rule by shaking hands and kissing babies (or the office equivalent of favors, favortism, and coffee or drinks, I’m buying!) or they are hard-a*sed, prickly jerks who cannot work with anyone that can pull their own weight and instead we see a flurry people make a dash for the exits.
How do either of these types of people become leaders of anything? Don’t the executives they report see or hear the chaos in the ranks below and the projects going bottom-up, kaput?
We’ve got to get along and nothing wrong with work friends, but we are here to do a job and do it well and for that we need to come together as decent human beings who treat each other with respect, dignity, and where everyone can make a valuable contribution–CIO social butterflies and inglorious tyrants begone! 😉
(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)