I know I’ve experienced it many times and I know it’s happened to many of my clients.
It’s probably happened to you. You were promoted to supervise those that you worked alongside, or perhaps one of your co-workers was selected to be your new boss. Either way, it can be awkward but it doesn’t have to be.
One of my followers recently asked me for some advice on “how to be friends with workers you supervise, yet still have their respect and belief in you when you have be the boss and ask them to do things needed to be done as an employee?”
First of all, as the boss you don’t have to be friends with your co-workers. It’s important to have a good, friendly and professional working relationship, but you don’t have to maintain a ‘best of buddies’ relationship outside of the office … unless you want to. (I have many people who worked under me that are life-long friends to this very day).
Next, you may have been selected to be their boss, but they didn’t select you, someone else did. Therefore, you have to earn their trust and respect every day. You do that by demonstrating exceptional leadership at every opportunity. Here is a short list of actions that will earn you trust and respect:
- Be reliable – do what you say you’ll do.
- Set expectations on the work to be done – be clear and hold them accountable.
- Be respectful – treat people like you like to be treated.
- Show you care – help them grow professionally.
- Practice humility – give credit where credit is due.
- Be fair and consistent – in everything you do.
This all leads me to this week’s leadership tip.
My leadership tip for you this week is to never feel like you have to make popular decisions, but understand, you should always make decisions that are best for the business. It’s important to be respectful of the implications of your decisions to others, but don’t compromise your values because you are trying to make a decision that is popular.
What’s best for the business may not be best for your ‘friends.’ Therefore, you must set expectations and boundaries on the friendship.
Be clear and remember when it comes right down to it, ‘it’s business before personal.’