Choosing the right kickball team can be one of the most stressful situations of a young leader. After all, do you pick your best friend that can not run that fast, or do you choose someone that keeps taking your lunch money but could kick a lot of home runs? Oh, the drama that a 5th grader has to deal with in order to successfully make it through elementary school.

I know that for me, I always picked my friends. I chose them because friendship was more important than a stupid kickball game. (That is what losers say, and we lost a lot.) This works great when you are in the 5th grade, however, when you get older, and you are given a job or a position of leading a group of people, choosing friends over the qualified might end up creating more trouble than it is worth.

It should be that leading your friends would be the easiest parts of leadership. After all, there is familiarity when it comes personalities, you already have things in common, and you do not have to spend extra time building a relationship.

While it might be fun to have your friends on your team, I want to share three key problems that I have come across.

First, it is easy to take advantage of your friends when they are on your team. It will be easy to give every project to them because they know your standards, and you trust them. This accomplishes two things; you will overwork your friend, and they will end up resenting you. What starts out as good intentions will end up costing you a friendship.

Second, it is easy for your friends to take advantage of you. After all, you are close, and you look after each other. So when they show up late, or when they do not finish a project on time, or when they just need a little more “grace” than others on the team, you will have to accommodate them. They are your friends, and friends look after each other.

Last is that a friendship is built on an equal foundation for both parties. To break that down, friends each play an equal part in friendship. There is no “I am the master friend, and you are the apprentice friend.” That is what makes friendship so great. Keeping that in mind, as a leader you naturally have responsibility and even with if you are the best servant leader, this will lead to you having power. Power is a destructive element in friendship; having authority and responsibility for a close friend will cause you to make decisions differently. You might choose what is best for the friendship instead of what is best for the team, or for the goal of the team.

I will end this by letting you know that it is not impossible to lead with friends on a team. It is just something that will take extra effort, and both you and your friend will need to be aware of the difficulties from the start.

This week’s experiment; Interview friends that have been on your team, or that are on it now, and ask them how it has changed your friendship? Come up with ways to protect your friendship and also ways to help each other with your positions.