Managers have a difficult job and it can be tough to figure out where the boundaries lie between being a boss and being a friend. Sometimes these lines get blurred and it ends up causing more trouble for the team. On one hand, employees appreciate a manager who takes a vested interest in them as a person, but on the other hand, they can lose respect for a manager who tries too hard to fit in. In most cases, people are not looking for their manager to be their best friend. Rather, they are looking for a manager who supports their success and works alongside them to help them reach their career goals. Unfortunately, employees will lose respect for the “cool” boss and start to question their credibility and their effectiveness at being a leader. Here are a few tips that might not make you fit in, but will make you a better leader and manager.
Set Boundaries Right From the Start
We spend the majority of our waking hours at work, so it’s only natural that work relationships will develop over time. However, a friendly relationship between employees is quite different than one between a manager and employee. It is important that managers set clear boundaries with their team right from the start. This doesn’t mean managers can’t be friendly and approachable, but they need to set clear expectations for their employees and interactions between managers and employees should always be professional.
Treat Everyone Equally
Think back to elementary school when just about all of us were in a class at some point with a student who was the teacher’s pet. It was obvious that they got special treatment and that student was always picked for special tasks. Unfortunately, this same principle happens in the workplace all the time. As the manager, it’s your job not to try and fit in with your employees by singling them out and playing favorites. Showing preferential treatment to certain employees is a sure fire way to lose the respect of the rest of your team. Your job is to be objective and treat everyone equally.
Hold Your Employees Accountable
Being the boss is not always easy. Holding people accountable for their actions comes with the territory. While this is not fun, it is necessary if you are going to lead a productive team. Managers who try to fit in by letting things slide, are not cool at all. Employees expect fairness across the board and they want you to direct them. It might be tempting for a manager to give their employees more freedom, thinking that this might make him/her more likable. In reality, your employees look to you for guidance and employees want a manager who will set clear goals for them and help them to reach those goals.
Although you might have that inner desire for your employees to like you, it is important to remember that employees are not looking for a boss that is also their pal. Rather, they want someone they look up to and respect. In the end, a manager who can successfully lead a team is much “cooler” than a manager who tries to fit in.