It’s very easy for people in full-time positions to see their co-workers more than they see their family and friends. In a 40-hour work week, you have a lot of opportunities to create work friendships, but can you be a manager and a friend?

Your job is to lead your employees and treat them equally. If you develop a close friendship with one employee and not another, you run the risk of showing favoritism whether you mean to or not. It’s okay to make friends as you should enjoy your work, but where do you draw the line? 

Tips for Manager/Employee Relationships 

1. Be warm and supportive, but not best friends.

Be a great manager and a role model, and invest in your employees by asking how things are going in their lives, but try not to take it any further. Know the names of their children and pets, and keep up to date on what is going on, but not too close. 

2. Create an open door policy, but be supportive of employee relationships.

Be a good manager and work to help employees through any issues they might be having, and also pay attention to the work relationships that they have and support them helping each other. Employees need to vent from time to time, and sometimes it might be about you. Don’t take it personally. 

3. Treat all employees the same, with respect. 

You don't necessarily have to treat every employee the same, but they must feel as if they receive equal treatment. The perception that you have pet employees or that you play favorites will undermine your efforts to manage people.

4. Take one for the team.

Don’t throw your employees under the bus to other employees or your superiors. If something goes wrong under your watch, take responsibility, as it's ultimately your responsibility. Protect your employees, and have a team meeting to discuss and resolve the issue in an effort to make sure it does not happen again. By doing this, you will create strong employee bonds. 

When hiring managers, be sure to hire people who want to interact with people, and continuously train them on how to do this. Managing people is one of the most difficult roles in business, so help your employees do their job.

LBMC Employment Partners can create and lead training modules, webinars, and conferences that will help your managers grow into exceptional leaders. Learn more about our training options as part of our Human Resources services.