Can we be friends?

Can we be friends at work?

If you are both employees?


If you are a leader and an employee?

That is a Hard NO!

I once had the opportunity to employ a friend. He was THE perfect fit for the role.

I called him, told him about the opportunity, and let him know that as I would be his line manager, there could no longer be a friendship outside work.

He didn’t take long to reach a decision and chose our friendship over the job. To this day I admire him so much for that – and appreciate his friendship to this day.

Here’s the thing.

When you think everything seems okay, and the employee’s performance is excellent, the following may occur:

1) Your team believes that you have favourites

2) Your team believes that your ‘friend’ can do no wrong

3) Your team believes that your ‘friend’ gets away with things they cannot

4) Your team will not respect you or your decisions

5) Your team’s productivity drops

6) Performance managing your ‘friend’ becomes almost impossible

7) You may lose a good employee as well as a friend

8) Genuine sharing of issues and ideas declines

9) The culture you had once been proud of, is now one that you need to resurrect and work on

There are many more direct consequences, and they can be industry specific.

My advice to any of my clients is yes, you can treat your employees as your ‘family’ if you choose to do so, but never let it get to the point where you are uncomfortable to manage their performance.

I also actively discourage being friends on social media. It might sound harsh, but it ensures that lines do not blur.

This is not about you.

This is about your employees.

If it is to be, it is up to me.

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