We spend most of our days with the people we work with. Most often than not, we get to build friendships with colleagues and even our boss.
However, it may be hard to maintain the thin line of being an empowering leader and a trusted friend. Here are some tips on how to strike the right balance between maintaining work friendships and climbing up the corporate ladder.
When you treat someone at work as your friend, it might be difficult to lay down some criticisms or thoughts about certain things. If you’re the boss, this can be a conundrum.
According to entrepreneur, philanthropist and New York Times bestselling author Bethenny Frankel, you have to be loyal and direct if you want to gain respect as a boss and a friend. Show kindness, but it is not your job to make everyone feel good about themselves all the time. If there is a need to give constructive criticism, don’t be afraid to do it.
Control Your Ego
Don’t think and act like you’re better than everyone just because you moved up the ranks. Be respectful to everyone and be open-minded about their opinions.
For Jocko Willink, a retired U.S. Navy SEAL officer, being a leader requires the ability to balance being a friend and a boss. Being too close with your work friend may prove difficult for you when the time comes that you need to address the elephant in the room. If you’re too detached from everyone, you might earn a reputation of being a snob boss.
Empower Your Team
AE Studio Founder and CEO Judd Rosenblatt says that leaders should try to empower their team for them to reach their full potential rather than just dictate whatever they want them to do.
Your goals may be different from that of your employees. Try to check in on them and openly communicate about their work and what they want to achieve. If you fight for their goals, they’ll most likely be motivated enough to do well on achieving your business goals.
Stay Detached From Your Work
If you’re friends with someone at work, it may prove difficult to work alongside those who aren’t part of your circle. Because it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to build the same kind of friendship with every single person in your company, try to treat everyone with the same level of detached professionalism.
Bryce Welker, CEO of online education company Crush Empire and founder of Crush The CPA Exam, says that this is to avoid playing favorites. You can socialize with them after work hours, but don’t be too casual when you’re in the office.
Care Personally Yet Challenge Them
According to Crimcheck CEO Tom Shieh, you have to straddle the thin line between being a boss and being a friend. It’s nice to build genuine camaraderie with your team and take the time to know and understand them as individuals.
However, when the need arises that you have to make hard decisions and give them honest feedback, you shouldn’t be afraid to do so as these can help them improve moving forward.