Too Familiar?

Being an effective leader can be challenging if for no other reason than the workplace environment we often find ourselves in.

There is a well known saying “Familiarity Breeds Contempt.”

The more we get to know people, the more tolerant we become of their deficiencies. That applies to all aspects of life. If you are married or have ever been married you know that the longer you are with a person the more you tend to overlook those things that really bug you. (Or maybe not and you get a divorce) You just kind of go with the flow because it’s not worth the hassle.

Being in business and managing people is the same way. Most of my readers are in the automobile business and are around the same people for 12 plus hours a day. Talk about a familiarity breeds contempt problem!

The reality is that it’s much easier to run a large dealership than a small one. As a leader in a large dealership, you can delegate much more and separate yourself from some of the personalities that can cause the breakdown of discipline.

Do not take that to mean that you don’t need to be involved, friendly or whatever. It just means you have to separate yourself from the emotional side of the equation. If you are in a smaller dealership the task of separating yourself from the staff is even more daunting.

I’m often amazed that leaders feel that they can socialize with staff members and still be able to properly manage and lead them. How can you:

1. Have lunch with the same people all the time?
2. Have dinner with spouses and members of your team on a regular basis?
3. Have after work drinks with staff members?
4. Party with staff members?
5. Attend sporting events with staff members?
6. Play golf on weekends with staff members?

Any of these in and of themselves is not a bad thing. But, to do any of this with the same person on a consistent basis does nothing but create problems for you and them. Aside from the fact it makes it difficult for you to manage them (let alone fire them) it creates a perception of favoritism that will destroy morale and team spirit.

It’s undeniable that the more time you spend with staff members the more difficult it is to manage them in an unbiased manner. So, just how much in contempt are you? Only you know the answer to that.

Don’t be in contempt. That’s all I’m gonna say, Tommy Gibbs