“What are Fred’s reasons for not using the system?”
“I’m not sure Fred’s concerns are legitimate, but he says the new system requires too much documentation and takes too much time.”
“Does Fred’s failure to comply cause problems?”
“Oh yes! We have to do time-consuming work-arounds.”
“Tell Fred that you will treat failure to comply as insubordination.”
“He would not like that. It would surely dent our relationship.”
The manager is very conflicted. Maintaining a good relationship means extra work and sets a bad example for others. Requiring compliance burns a good relationship with a high performer.
Effective leaders are both demanding and friendly. But sometimes they must require others (even friends) to do things they resist. Such actions may cause the relationship needle to point south.
If fractured relationships reach critical mass, staff may in effect “fire” the leader. Resisting staffers apply so much pressure that higher authorities decide they are better off with the leader being gone.
When leaders consciously sacrifice relationships in service to the mission, it is imperative that these leaders, in the following weeks, make every effort to restore their relationships.