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Integrated Solutions Lead
San Antonio, TX

Advanced knowledge of programming language(s), software development tools and environment(s) and systems analysis and functional design

A Lesson on Leadership: Business is Personal

March 21, 2013
A Lesson on Leadership:  Business is Personal

Do you care about the people or just the results?


It’s business, not personal. We hear this a lot as people often use it as an excuse to do something that isn’t very kind but justified in their minds because they remove the personalization from the act. In the staffing industry, it’s all personal.  


  • We are dealing with candidates who are looking for the next big job opportunity to sharpen their minds and use their skills at the lowest level of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs; receive food, clothing and shelter. 
  • For our clients, the projects they are working on and the tasks they need accomplished with the resources they hire from a staffing and solutions firm directly impact their performance, product, project and in turn their livelihood. 


The Balancing Act


So we find ourselves in a quandary sometimes when we try and remove the personal from the business. Good business and good business relationships should be intertwined. You should have a network that feels like a support system, which includes relationships with your leader, peers and those who report to you. Our interactions with work partners must be deeper than a handshake. So much of our time and interaction is spent at work, creating the need to have a kinship with our leaders and colleagues to foster a happy workplace. This begs the question…how do you treat your folks? There is a fine line, much like the difference between being a parent to your child or being a friend.


A leader is more like a parent, or should be. As parents we watch out for our children. We raise them with pads on the corners of the tables and safety locks on the drawers. As they grow, we allow them to experience new things without getting too hurt. We grow to a point where we realize the words “no” will be steadfast and must mean something. Our children do not have to fear us but they should respect us…sound familiar?  


Business vs. Personal 


How is your relationship with your employees? Do they fear or respect you? Do you coddle them? Do you support them? Or are you the parent who had the parties in the basement because you wanted your child to have a great time? 

You cannot have it all, and with leadership comes the challenge of balance between parent and friend. 


  • Treat each employee with the same respect - inequity is often used as a rationale for employee dissatisfaction.
  • Get to know your people - know their spouse’s names, kid’s names, their likes and be genuinely interested to hear about it. Write a personal note of thanks when they would least expect it.
  • Ask what you can do to help them reach their goals and objectives. 
  • Have one-on-one meetings with your direct reports. Everyone needs to be heard. Ask open ended questions then…listen.
  • Provide exit interviews - you can always learn something about the reasons why employees leave, even if you may not agree.


When it comes to your professional life, it’s important to remember three things:


  • Love what you do.
  • Like who you work with.
  • Respect the firm that you work for.

Having a good working relationship with your employees influences all three of these. You will enjoy what you do more, gain camaraderie with those you work with and respect the firm you work with more because of your relationships. It is all intertwined. It is personal and it is business. 

About the author

Joel Leege BioJoel Leege began his Kforce career nearly 10 years ago and is currently the Market President for the Northwest Region which includes the Denver, Salt Lake, Silicon Valley, San Francisco, Portland and Seattle markets.  Joel grew up in Iowa and received his BA from the University of Iowa and a Masters degree from Michigan State University.  Connect with Joel on LinkedIn and Twitter.

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Kforce is a professional staffing and solutions firm providing flexible and permanent placement solutions in the skill areas of technology, finance & accounting and healthcare. Kforce operates in more than 60 offices located throughout the United States and one office in the Philippines.
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Knowledge Employed is a career advice blog and job tips resource center, created and managed by Kforce’s staffing specialists. Whether you are a professional needing career advice or a hiring authority seeking business guidance, our goal is to provide you with the knowledge and tools.