We’ve all heard it. “It’s not personal, it’s just business”. Except that it is personal. It always is. As if there was a way that we as humans could possibly separate how we feel, with what we do….
It’s impossible. In fact I’d argue that if you can make this separation with 100% effectiveness - then I worry about your ability to function productively in society with other humans (nevermind a project).
Living the fallout.
I think that saying “it’s just business” is just a shortcut we use so that we don’t have to deal with the fallout of people’s reaction, emotion, opinion, the team (or personal) dynamic etc. This makes it more simple for you for sure since now you don’t have to deal with how your tone, or your decisions affects the team.
Saying it’s not personal is just a cheap way to let yourself off the hook. The interpretation of a statement like “it’s just business” tells us that:
- You like short cuts
- You haven’t bothered to work a little bit harder to develop a relationship with your team
- People don’t trust you very much
- You're not very good with people
- You like power but chances are you don’t deserve it
It’s a shortcut… and it’s very short-sighted.
The best team leaders consider how people feel. They care about the teams dynamic and are very aware of the consequences of any decision they make. In fact, the best team leaders think about the human element first - you know, because it’s people that do the actual work. And the work doesn't get done (or done well) when the team believes you don’t give a shit.
We’re a social species (duh).
I’m not saying that we should cater to whiners, drama-for-drama’s-sake etc. I am saying that emotions are real. We use them everyday to guide what we do, who we work with and how much energy we put into that work.