Getting hurt by the people you lead is one of the occupational hazards of leadership. Many wounded leaders have lost their ability to trust and therefore live in a world of emotional isolation for the sake of self-protection. But no one can lead alone. The pressures of leadership demand the leader have a release valve, a trusted friend or two they can lean on, be honest with and seek wisdom from.
I had three different friends from three different cities call me last week and each one said, “I don’t know why but I’ve been thinking about you and felt like I needed to give you a call and just check on you.” Wow, these calls made me feel loved, valued, accountable and cared for. And it also reminded me of how important friendships are for me as a leader.
Each of the individuals that called me are friends who challenge me, stretch my thinking and make me better. Solomon highlights the importance of friendship throughout Proverbs. Here are 4 traits we all need in a close friend.
- I need a friend who will tell me the truth. Proverbs 27: 6, “Wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses.”
- I need a friend who will stick with me through the good and bad. Proverbs 17:17, “A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.”
- I need a friend who shares the same values and connects with me deeply. Proverbs 18:24, “There are “friends” who destroy each other, but a real friend sticks closer than a brother.”
- I need a friend with whom I can discuss difficult decisions. Proverbs 27:9, “Oil and perfume make the heart glad, So a man’s counsel is sweet to his friend.”
Todays Leadership Challenge: Call a friend just to let them know you’re thinking of them.