leadership : on goldfish in front of group, isolated on a white background

You Are Not One of the Lads. It’s Over.

Oh the painful irony.

The promotion ladder has been climbed and we’ve made it to ‘Leadership’.
Damn. I’m here, and now my buddies, the folks I grew with… are over there.
I still, deep down, want to be ‘one of the lads’ (sometimes lasses but mainly its the lads).

It may not even be a conscious thought or intent but my behaviours show up that desire.
I’ll not want to upset them, call them out, see them under pressure. I may even ‘rescue them’ from situations that will probably be their making. You see,  I just can’t bear their short term pain because I am seeing them as mates not grown ups.

It’s over.

You can try as hard as YOU like and be liked as one of the lads. You can strive to be SEEN as one of the lads.
The issue is THEY no longer see you as one of them. They’ve moved on.

The relationships, the stakes, the expectations, the dynamics have changed.

They used to like you. They probably still do – but maybe they have to like you for other things now:

  • That you’ll make them bigger people by teaching them to hold themselves to account.
  • To think for themselves.
  • To recognise their greatness when they forget.
  • That you can Coach them to get their too if they wish.

So does that mean you make your way to the Ivory Tower, practice some top aloofness and just hang out with the Board Room gang?
Of course not.

It’s all about knowing the moments and scenarios when to join in with the craic, be a bit of a dafty, have a glass or two – the next day its back to being the boss business.

In parallel, I don’t subscribe to the fashion of ‘being mates’ with our children or pursuing an intent that they should even like me.

Its all here in this  great scene from the movies ‘Fences’ in a father to son dialogue:

Cory: How come you ain’t never liked me?

Troy: Liked you? Who the hell say I got to like you? What law is there say I got to like you? Its my duty to raise you, not to be liked by you.

Bosses do the raising.


Paul Fox
Paul Fox

Paul Fox has been active as a Construction Industry Executive Coach for the last 20 years and remains at the forefront of thought leadership such as his work in the BIM task groups. He works with individuals, project and senior teams who want exponentially more output with much less struggle.

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