This is a tough one. Some say that they don’t want to get to know their employees on a personal basis because they think it would hinder the respect they need as the leader. I’d argue that the respect will be deeper and more authentic if the employees know that their leader truly cares about them and what is happening in their lives. Think back to a time when you were a student in your favorite teacher’s classroom. What made him/her your favorite? I bet it wasn’t because of the awesome worksheets you got to do for homework each night. My favorite teachers are all people that I knew cared about me. I wasn’t just a job to them. Now think about your bosses. Do you have a favorite? I do. She was the second principal I taught under. She made sure her teachers knew that our families came first. She made sure that we knew that she had our backs to the public, the parents, and her own boss. She took time to encourage and support me professionally. It was on her office phone (because the others were all busy) that I found out that I was pregnant for the first time, and got to call and share that happy news with my husband. She was my friend and my boss, which made her a fantastic leader, and someone for which I enjoyed working.
I stand behind my statement that real (good) leaders work to build relationships, but I always welcome thoughts, questions, and comments.