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a blog by Chris Barrow

About knowing who your friends are…

There is an important distinction between the words “friend” and “friendly”. You know you are with a “friend” when simply being with them makes you feel good/better about yourself. You are being “friendly” when you treat people as you would have them treat you (The Golden Rule). Just because you work for or with someone, it doesn’t make them your “friend”. Friendship is earned after many hours of unconditional authenticity, transparency and trust. Good leaders understand that the people they are called to lead are not their “friends”. Good managers understand that the people they are required to manage (in itself, impossible – managers manage systems and lead people) are not their “friends”. Needing to be liked will exhaust, frustrate and disappoint you. There is huge satisfaction in reaching down, lifting the right people up, helping them to fulfil their own potential, paying forward what you have learned from others. That is the calling of a great leader or manager. But it’s a lonely place. Your “friends” will be few and priceless. p.s. You cannot effectively coach someone unless they are your “friend”.

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