Every work relationship is different. But, certain ways of managing relationships work better than others.
I noticed that people in business go out to dinner with each other frequently. This actually improves their business relationship and productivity. It is a proven fact that people who are chummy with each other will treat each other much better in a business relationship.
However, employees tend to be more distant, especially the ones I have dealt with. They rarely want to go out to dinner, especially not with you. They want your money, not your dinner! They don’t want to be your friend. So, how do you handle them?
If you are too distant, they will not do good work for you. They will know you are not watching, and know their work doesn’t matter. If you are overbearing the employees will resent you. If you show favoritism for one person the others will get jealous. So, what do you do?
If you are friends with your employees, that can turn against you as they will be more able to manipulate you. You will be tempted to talk about private personal things with them that you probably shouldn’t as that can get turned on you as well. The worst situation you can create at work is a romance between people of different levels. Those relationships are usually a powerful older man with a younger beautiful woman. Don’t do this! It can lead to a lot of complications and trouble.
Being in a position to fire someone
You need to always be in a position to fire someone on the spot. People tend to not do very good work these days. If you lack replacements for someone, you are stuck with them long after their work has gone down hill. If you are emotionally attached to someone, if their work goes down hill, you won’t want to fire them which is another handicap. The boss always needs to keep the upper hand, so don’t put any bindings on your hand that will inhibit your power!
As a boss, you need to be there to answer questions, mentor, and encourage. You need to set limits, and be an authority too. Being a nice authority who is caring, but firm seems to me to be the ideal characteristic of a boss if you want to be liked and also get things done. Too nice and the work will suffer, and too mean and you drive people away emotionally. Instead of spending time socializing, spend time mentoring, and teaching people new skills that will give them a future. Many people want a work future, and if they think you can give it to them, they will be more loyal to you which in turn gives you more power! You gain power from helping others and keeping efficiency, not by being people’s friends or being too mean!
The way you keep your relationships with those you do business with is different. If you are on the same level as a supplier, or contractor, you can be friends. In real life, that can work. Just remember that your assessment of their work is business, and friendship is friendship. Don’t let the friendship interfere with your standards for their work. But, you shouldn’t be friends with those in a lower position in your company or in other people’s companies as that tends not to work well. They resent the fact that you are above them, and workers by nature tend to be unfriendly towards management. It is a sad rule of life. But, remember, that life is like a National Geographic documentary. There are rules to the jungle, and you need to obey those rules. By the way, I have to go because a lion is chasing me. I need to remember not to run as that would identify me as prey. Hmmm. I’ll let her sniff my finger instead of running. Bye!