Friendship is an earned honor. It’s one bestowed by the employees, possibly, on their manager after that manager removes obstacles for their career, for their work, for their tasks. These are the obstacles that interfere with their passion, their success in living it, their role in building your shared success.
You will be their friend after you recognize the road they drive at work by smoothing the bumps, straightening the blind curves and fixing the potholes. Putting in stop signs helps, too.
You will be their trusted friend when you listen to them, take their advice, heed their warnings. Avoid time-wasting buzz-killing meetings helps as does working to insure all the players are A-players.
They may call you friend after you deliver the resources to insure their talents shine. That means upgrading their equipment, giving them better desks and monitors and nicer chairs. You’ll find better applications and more training resources. You’ll find it’s more productive to reward their efforts at championing your brand than yet another one-hit wonder agency.
A leader is one who recognizes the higher purpose that can be shared and leads them towards it, recognizing and inspiring everyone join together on that journey. A leader is one who finds the best path, avoiding the most dangerous obstacles and removes the others. You inspire by example so when they attach their brand to yours it’s an honor for both.
A leader is one who serves. Serve them first and you will earn their honorific: friend.