Teacher, Trainer, Mentor, Mate. (Hmm, sounds like Butcher, Baker, Candlestick maker…) All can help you when you are facing leadership challenges. Let’s look at mates/friends today.
Ahhhh, the mate. This would be the Australian mate…Best friend, cohort, cellmate. There are many such descriptions of mates/friends. There are hundreds of images and posters and pictures you’ll find on FaceBook and inspirational sections of the libraries and the poster section at Walmart. Some are sweet and sappy, some are wild and hairy, never-the-less, a friend in need is a friend indeed.
How much do your friends know about leadership? Depends on your friends doesn’t it? How much do your friends know and understand your goals and dreams? Are they a part of your aspirations or do they sit on the sidelines. I have a set of friends that collaborate with me on a set of books we’re publishing. I have another set of friends that read the books I collaborate on. I have another set of friends that are surprised I can write. If you need an ear to hear your leadership challenges and help you get through the tough times, is it a friend that is good at leadership or a friend that is good at listening? Or are these the same person?
There are some people in your circle that want you to stay the way you are because you’re more fun to be with when you’re part of the gang. There are some people that are your friends as long as you don’t advance, and some that are worried when you don’t advance. There are some in your circle that do not view anything through a leadership lens. As you advance in your leadership skills, some of your friends will become remote, and some will turn on you. You have to be careful what you share with your friends.
If you find a mate that will support you in your worst times and encourage you in the best of times, that’s a rarity and should be cherished. However you should remember that it’s the relationship that each of you tries to maintain; it’s not your growth in leadership. Your mate may not have a clue how to help you improve your leadership skills unless he or she is on the same path. When you are taking steps toward better leadership, you may feel alone on this journey and rely on a friend to help you through. Remember that this is emotional support and may not advance you toward your goals.
Where do you find friends that can help? You might get involved in a mastermind group like Napoleon Hill talks about in his book, “Think and Grow Rich.” There you are talking ABOUT leadership WITH leaders and studying leadership principles that have been set down on paper by masters in the field. You will discover that some have a gift for leadership, and others get an entirely new perspective when studying like this. You all grow together.
Mates/friends are essential to psychological well-being, but may not be appropriate in all cases when you’re trying to grow into leadership. Make sure you can tell the difference between an emotional bond and a leadership bond. Each has a specific purpose. Make sure that the person you talk to wants you to succeed as a leader.