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Executive Management: How To Be Friendly Without Being Friends
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Executive Management: How To Be Friendly Without Being Friends - Executive Leadership Articles

Executive Management: How To Be Friendly Without Being Friends

Executive Leadership Articles

Executive Management: How To Be Friendly Without Being Friends

There are many types of Executive Leaders in the world. Some steadfastly believe that maintaining close friendships with select members of their staff fosters productivity and trust, while others hold firm to the idea that friendship brings with it baggage inappropriate to maintaining the chain of command and promoting the distance required to both discipline and reward fairly. While much can be said for the former approach, it is the latter that this article will dissect to demonstrate both how to cultivate a professional, friendly relationship with staff and why this is key to fulfilling your responsibilities as an Executive Leader.

Top 10 tips for maintaining a healthy distance:

  • DON’T ask about your employees’ personal lives – this includes everything from politics to religion to family problems
  • DON’T attend social outings
  • DON’T ask for personal favors
  • DON’T give special treatment
  • DON’T engage in gossip
  • DON’T encourage or reward obsequious or ingratiating behavior
  • DO care enough to tackle difficult conversations (like those about job performance and improvement)
  • DO establish hierarchy using a professional, fair, and friendly approach
  • DO discipline and reward employees when appropriate
  • DO be prepared to make it clear that while you respect and value your employees, no one is immune to termination – however, be sure that if you must articulate this, you do so as a matter-of-fact statement during a non-disciplinary meeting in order to establish expectations rather than instill fear or make threats

Top 5 benefits of being friendly without being friends:

  • Constructive feedback lacks the complicated nuances that develop during a friendship (a personal relationship of equals) and keeps the focus on feedback between an employer and an employee (a hierarchical relationship designed to improve job performance)
  • The freedom to fire which, while it remains an employer’s right, becomes difficult when he or she views an employee as a close personal friend
  • Compliance with Human Resources is maintained, as the Executive Leader cannot be accused of biased behavior based upon knowledge of an employee’s personal life, beliefs, or background
  • Disciplinary action taken against an employee is more likely to be impartial, straightforward, and based strictly on job performance
  • Team morale remains high without the jealousy or anger that employees often feel toward the boss’s “favorite” or “pet”

While the decision to be friends or simply friendly is something that each Executive Leader must make for himself, oftentimes the best decision is the one with the least added stress and potential for complication. Just remember that maintaining a comfortable distance between yourself and your employees doesn’t mean that you can’t connect or foster a cordial business relationship. Rather, it means that you value your responsibilities to your employees enough to create a fair working environment that will best help them to grow and improve as professionals.

 

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Executive Management: How To Be Friendly Without Being Friends - Executive Leadership Articles

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