Striking a Balance Between Being a Boss and Friend

This article comes from Entrepreneur.

Striking a Balance Between Being a Boss and Friend

For starters, yes, you can be friends with your employees. That’s because it comes with advantages like having a fun and relaxed atmosphere. The connection can also help you get to know each other better. As a result, you’ll have more respect and appreciation for one another. And, you’ll be more committed to helping each other out when needed.

On the flip side, there are disadvantages. For example, if the friendship goes south, it could lead to conflicts that have nothing to do with work. When the connection has negative consequences, performance decreases, and a toxic work environment has been created. Another issue you may have to face is that to remain friendly with an employee — other people may resent how close you are. The suspicious sort may start to think that you’re playing favorites.

Treat everyone the same

Sometimes it isn’t easy to treat all people the same, but keep this in mind at all times. The balancing act is somewhat like being a parent who has more than one child. You can’t pick favorites, and you need to be consistent. Consider the consequences of those in unhealthy homes where a parent admits that one child is their favorite. Worse is when that parent lets the child get away with whatever they want.

Don’t be a toxic leader

To motivate your team and achieve positive outcomes, you need to avoid disastrous leadership mistakes like:

  • Publicly creating and bullying others.
  • Failing to share and receive feedback.
  • Discouraging creativity and innovation.
  • Solving problems with a quick fix.
  • Not properly delegating work to the right people.
  • Resisting change.
  • Micromanaging and assigning too much work to others.
  • Failing to set goals for your organization.

On top of making you a more effective leader overall, improving your leadership skills will make it easier for you to treat everyone the same. Along the way, you’ll strengthen areas like communication skills and emotional intelligence.

Establish ground rules

There needs to be some distance between you and your employees. After all, you still need to have some sort of perception of hierarchy. Some understanding of authority ensures that everyone can get along just well without crossing the line.

The best way to stay within guidelines is by establishing ground rules. For example, you can spend time outside of work during happy hour, volunteering, or when attending industry events. But, you may have a policy that you do not attend the birthday party of your employee’s children or that you never drink alcohol with them.

Take the time to nurture the relationship

Don’t hide out in your office all day. Get out there and mingle with everyone. Have them lunch with them — schedule one-on-ones with each team member. And, occasionally get your hands dirty and work in the trenches with them.

When you take the time to get to know your employees, you get to find out what their interests are and what makes them tick. You get to learn what hidden talents they possess. And, you may discover that you have more in interest then you previously thought.

Be honest, trusting, and understanding

“All strong relationships are built on honesty,” writes Tamara Luzajic for Humanity. “And just like a good friend would tell you when you are doing something wrong no matter how much it hurts, a good manager will use open communication to help employees become better at what they do.”

“Honesty is one of the best principles you can use to establish a healthy balance between caring your employees and leading them professionally,” adds Luzajic. “The closer you get to someone on a personal level, the harder it becomes to give them honest feedback as employees.”

Enlist the help of a third party

Finally, if you don’t feel confident enough to strike a balance between being a boss and friend, seek assistance from someone else. For instance, you may want to have an unbiased party make important decisions, such as promoting or firing employees. Don’t mention anything about your personal feeling and relationship to the third party — and give them complete autonomy to determine the decision.

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