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Tip of the Week: How to Walk the Line between Boss and Friend

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When you first started your company, you may have had a group of close friends who were your original employees. They started off ambitious, like you, but gradually they grew more and more complacent. Now they are a hazard to your company’s future, and you don’t like that. You feel like you need to replace them with someone who cares about the company’s future, or maybe you just found someone who has more skill than them, but what if you don’t get along as well with the new employee? And how do you fire a friend?

It’s always hairy business when you are your friend’s boss. It’s important to get along with everyone in the workplace, and it certainly makes it more pleasant, but if you aren’t careful about it, there could be some serious repercussions. In the end, it will be more trouble than it is worth.

Don’t Blame Yourself Just Yet
Before you start beating yourself up over getting too chummy with your employees, you should first know that it’s not entirely your fault that it happened. Naturally, you’re going to be drawn to certain personality types. It’s only human nature. Still, the other employees who don’t have the same relationship with you will get jealous, and eventually it will be seen as favoritism, even if it isn’t intentional.

Why Take Your Friends Seriously?
You cannot forget that you are the boss, and you have the final word on a subject. Your friends might not like what you have to say, or might even ignore you. After that, it’s a domino effect – one person refuses you, then another, and another, and before you know it, everyone thinks it is okay to not listen to the boss. All of this happened because you got buddy-buddy with that new employee.

Work is No Place to Socialize
We all know how talkative we can be around our close friends, but what happens when those close friends spend the entire work shift bugging you about what you did the other night, or about the party he went to the night before? If his lips are too loose and the other employees hear him talking about his, or more importantly, your, personal life, it could be detrimental to the way your employees view your role as boss. We’re not suggesting that you lie to your employees, but that you keep your social and professional lives separate. There’s no reason they should know anything about your personal life.

There’s a Fine Line between Fairness and Friendliness
Not everyone who gets a raise or promotion deserves it, and why might that be? It’s probably because they got in good with the bossman and suckered their way to the top. Sadly, this happens a lot these days, and it’s because company executives forget all about the people who deserve the raises and instead give them to the employees they like.

Overall, nobody wins when push comes to shove and you have to let your friend go. They might hold resentment for your actions, regardless of whether they deserved it or not. In the end, all you can do is hope for forgiveness; you can’t jeopardize your company just because you can’t fire your friend.

How do you handle this friend/boss conflict in the workplace? Share your tips with us in the comments.

Date: May 27th, 2015, Author: Jorge Rojas

Toronto IT Support  /  Tektonic Blog  /  How To  /  Tip of the Week: How to Walk the Line between Boss and Friend