Bite size – Should you be friends with your team?

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Welcome to Bite Size – our bi-monthly blog where we explore a topic in bite size form – short, sharp and easy to digest.

Wednesday 31st July is World Friendship Day. A day to celebrate friendship and all the benefits it can bring.

However, if you are a leader of a team, negotiating the minefield of friendship at work with your team can be tricky if you don’t find a middle ground.

Essentially you are their boss, not their friend.

One of the things that separates a great manager from a good one, is the ability to remain cordial and friendly with their team. The line between cordiality and friendship can be difficult as it is always best to keep things on a professional level.

It’s in our nature as human beings to gravitate towards people we like. Being open and amicable with your team will encourage a good working relationship but as soon as this steps too far down the route of friendship, unconscious bias can creep into your leadership style.
Favouritism will spread discord within your team which is why it is always preferable to stay professional when it comes to developing healthy working relationships.

Often a friend can be a sounding board when life is proving tough. If this friend is one of your team members, oversharing could become a real issue if you have work problems, putting you both in a difficult position.

Finally, there can be times when you have to let a team member go. If you have built up a friendship with them, this will prove even harder to do.

In short, it is best to adopt an approachable, friendly manner in your leadership style but always stay within professional boundaries.

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