Can a Boss be a Friend?
It seems natural that to help motivate and inspire employees one must be a friendly boss. This way a better communication can be developed from both ends, helping the team to feel as if they were in a more familiar environment and ending up staying longer in the company.
However, to build this type of relationship is not an easy task, since there can be certain internal disputes and issues regarding rumours among team members, misunderstandings, amongst other things. Employees may feel that there is favouritism and to prevent these problems, directors and managers need to understand the limits.
Some tips about how to engage on a better boss-friendship relationship are:
Be a friend to all your employees
Even though some people are extremely different from you and they are not a match to your personality, this can't be openly shown. The leader needs to have that responsibility, to be an unbiased director/manager, not showing preferences.
Pay attention to what they say
When there is a friendship relationship it is more easy to start interpreting their behaviours because you will understand more about their personalities. This way you can identify better methods to deal with them and motivate by integrating them the right way within the team. Personal lives should also be taken into consideration, this way they might feel more as a partner than a subordinate.
Organize Events from time to time
Events help people to be in a more casual environment so they can know you better and feel closer to you. For example, company dinners, family outing, team building workshops, etc. All these activities will not only be beneficial to you and your team but also between co-workers.
Do not work discuss work matters outside of working hours
It is important to spend time with employees, to have coffee, talk about work, but if it is outside of working hours it should not be a heavy talk, and rather an informal discussion. Another important tip is to not allow employees to gossip about their co-workers, no matter how close you are with the person, never allow groundless stories to be spread out.
Don't take things to personally
Being a friend with an employee does not mean that you have to be to tolerant in the workplace. Staying professional is key, even if you are close to them. Of course certain mistakes cannot be simply tolerated easily, and if you are punishing others, you should to for those who are closer. But of course, there may be different rules, depending on the hierarchies in the company, however, make sure that for the same level the same rules are applied.
Never expose one employee’s problem to the other
Simply because you are the boss, you know everyone's stories, which is why you need to learn how to keep all things confidential. Talking about the employees’ problems weakens the perception others have of them, leading to internal conflicts and distrust.
Many wish to have leading positions, but not all people are tailored for such task, in the end the leader is the person that serves the most, having to care for everyone. It is only with great discernment, trust and respect towards others that one can truly engage in a such challenging performance.