Can You Be Friends With Your Business Employees?

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If you are running a business, then it’s important to understand the critical role that your employees play. Essentially, your employees are the life force of your company. You need to make sure that they always provide the right support to you and deliver the high-quality service that your customers demand. Many employers and business owners often wonder what the relationship should be between them and their team. It needs to be civil of course, but can there be a friendship here? 

Films and TV shows often romanticize this idea to the point where it becomes ridiculous and unbelievable. Yes, there are bosses who try to be friends with their team of workers, but it doesn’t always end well. Below we’re going to explore this idea in more detail, discuss how far you can take the concept, and discover the issues you might face. 

Image source : Pexels

Why Would You Want To Be Friends With Employees?

The answer to this is probably quite obvious. We spend 30% of our lives at work. If you are running a business, it could be a lot more than this. So, it’s worth ensuring that you enjoy your time at work, and what better way to do this than being friends with those around you? You also won’t have to make room for your social life, because your social life will be built into your career. 

It will make social events that are connected to your business more fun too such as office parties. But there is a problem here and that’s the factor of respect and authority. You might like your friends, but you may not always respect them in the same way you would an employer. Nor, would you see them as having authority over you. You can, of course, give up your authority over a team in your business. But with no one steering the ship, it will be a miracle if it doesn’t crash. 

Why Should You Keep Your Team At Arm’s Length?

There are a few reasons why you shouldn’t get too close to the people who work for you. For instance, you need to think about redundancies. At a certain point, it might be necessary to let some people go. Think about how difficult this is going to be if they are also your friends or if they even feel like family. 

You might even find that you forgive your team members for making mistakes in your business model more often if they are friends. That’s a problem because you could put the friendship over the integrity of your business brand. 

How Far Can You Go?

It’s probably not possible to be friends with employees in the typical sense. But you can be ‘friendly acquaintances.’ This is actually always good advice because it means that you’ll have a sense of who your employees are, the struggles they might be facing and the milestones they are passing through. 

For instance, if an employee is having a baby, you can buy them a baby gift box. But it probably wouldn’t be appropriate for you to turn up at the baby shower even if you were invited. 

Another example would be planning days out for your whole team. This can be great as a team-building exercise. On the other hand, you likely won’t be socializing with team members individually outside of work hours. By making these distinctions, you can keep things friendly without blurring the line between employer and social friend. 

What Should You Do Instead?

You need to make sure that you focus on building a strong social life outside of work hours. That way, you won’t have to feel like you must rely on people who work for you to be your friends. You should also focus on ensuring that your business environment is fun and friendly without you necessarily being friends with your employees. In short, your employees can be friends with one another but you should keep just a little distance. 

We hope this helps answer the question as to whether you can be friends with your employees, the issues that you can face and how far you can go with this idea. Ultimately, this is very much a balancing act. You need your employees to like you, but you also need them to respect you and see you as a person who has authority over them. This does take time and you might struggle to workout the kinks at first. But part of this is ensuring that you have the right team of workers that you click with but also understand the difference in your position and theirs. 

Image source: Pexels

Sarah x

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