6 Reasons Leaders Don’t Build Relationships With Those They Lead

Are you afraid of building relationships with those you lead?  Let me share with you the reasons why most leaders don’t and why they should!

Building relationships image

As leaders, we need to invest in building relationships that can withstand the howling winds of misunderstanding and change, enduring a lifetime.

Relationships that pierce through to the core, and hang on for dear life through the trying times of progress.

Relationships that have depth and breadth, rooted in love and sacrifice, built with care and intentionality, and cemented with commitment and loyalty.

We need to commit to building relationships that are forged around inspiring journeys and fulfilling destinies – relationships that breathe respect and openness, always finding commonality and searching for ways to connect and understand in ever deeper ways.

Why don’t we?  Why do so many leaders hesitate to build strong relationships?

Here are 6 reasons…

1.     It is hard.

Building relationships is hard.  It takes work.  It takes consistency and sacrifice.

As a leader, I am often tired, overworked, and quite honestly have little emotional energy at times to put in what it takes to build strong relationships.  Can you relate?

The fact is, if we prefer to do only what is easy, then we are simply not ready to lead on the big stage.

So I call on us as leaders today to pay whatever price necessary to have the strongest and deepest relationships possible!

 2.     We think it is a waste of time.

Some think that leadership is just about getting things done, and the fuzzy stuff about relationships is simply a waste of time.

If you are a task-oriented person, you are likely to feel that way.  However, I can assure you that getting things done will not be as efficient if the relationships are poor.

Maintaining a relationship may take you away from doing tasks, however you will produce much more in the end when you have strong relationships with others on your team.

3.     We simply don’t have time.

You may value building relationships, however you may feel you have no time.

I say that if we don’t have time to have strong relationships with those we lead, we should simply get out of leadership!

…because we will not be effective.

When we acknowledge that relationships are part and parcel of successful leadership, we will start budgeting the time for it before we first enter into leadership.

4.     We think we should not because they will “run all over us”.

I have previously felt “disrespected” from those I befriended when I was in leadership.  So I thought at the time, the problem was the friendship and that I should stay cold, serious, and distant.  Have you ever felt that way?

Then I discovered that this was not true.  The problem was never the friendship or the close relationship, and this was an immature understanding of leadership.

The problem was the unclear boundaries.

I discovered that any healthy human relationship should have boundaries!  However, for boundaries to work in a close relationship they have to be stated clearly, kindly, firmly, and as early as possible.  We also have to be consistent with reminding others of them.

This takes emotional maturity, experience, and courage.

5.     We think we would not be able to “get rid of” that person.

Dr. Henry Cloud wrote a book called Necessary Endings that addresses this topic. Yes, if you are close to someone, it is hard to end the relationship.

However if we are to succeed in leadership, we have to simply learn when to and how to end a relationship, and more importantly how we can process it mentally and emotionally.

This is not easy.  But if we don’t master this, we will end up with mediocre teams because we are unable to end the relationships that should end and become afraid to form close relationships with those we lead.

6.     We don’t know how to build relationships successfully.

You may shy away from building relationships because you think you are not good at building relationships.

You may be right!

Remember that competence precedes confidence. So, let’s get competent in this extremely important area of leadership, and then we will build the confidence to practice great relationship building.

If you are like me, I view this area of leadership as one of the most important and the most difficult.  So, let’s commit together to aggressively and continually grow in it.

Question: How do you navigate having close relationships on your team and still set clear boundaries?

Your friend,
Wes Saade MD Signature

2 Comments
  • JCurtis PA-C
    Posted at 21:09h, 20 September Reply

    Very well thought out and said. Wes I believe you not only personally believe in building relationships, you live and breath it successfully. Great learning experience for all of us that contemplate on how to build relationships but are concerned about retaining the ability to be ‘frank’ and honest with individuals. Thanks

    • wessaade
      Posted at 15:23h, 21 September Reply

      Jeff, thank you so much for your kind comment!! Feelings are definitley mutual my friend!!

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