Strong Relationships and Professional Distance
Updated: Apr 6
Star Trek VOY: The Cloud
Look closely at how Janeway reflects excellent examples of professionalism, trust, and balanced relationships as her team's captain.
Being too close and casual to team members, while it has its advantages, may affect your decision-making as a leader to some far extent.
Like the possible effects that could arise from Janeway's relationship with her crew, many leaders also worry about how they can genuinely connect with their people while maintaining a professional understanding of boundaries. For this, the term professional distance was coined and discussed by Dr. Ana Corbo Crehan of the Centre for Applied Philosophy and Public Ethics at the University of Melbourne. She defines the whole concept as the set understanding of a leader's ability to fulfill a professional obligation and be seen to do so in an impartial and non-exploitive manner.
Failing to keep a professional distance can impact treatment, create impressions, and cause allegations –something Jeff's proven and experienced himself. Being too close and casual to team members, while it has its advantages, may affect your decision-making as a leader to some far extent. If you get too close to someone, someone else may worry about favoritism. If you interact too coldly, this may create a disconnect within the workforce. Establishing a connection with your team is essential to nourish closeness. Doing so with propriety is what professional distance promotes. If you're human enough to the people you lead, you can be a friend to them without losing the awareness that you're still their leader with professional distance.
Listen more about Janeway's leadership and professional distances in the Starfleet Leadership Academy Podcast!
About Starfleet Leadership Academy:
Star Trek is full of great examples of leadership. Jeff Akin, a leader with over 20 years of executive management experience in both the public and private sectors, breaks down each episode of Star Trek, from The Original Series to Discovery and beyond, pointing out examples of great leadership, management, lean/six-sigma, communication and more.
If you enjoy Star Trek, or are even a little Trek-curious, and have an appetite for leadership development, this is the podcast for you.
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