As a leader, you should know by now that you are not one of your employees. You are different from them, admittedly, even if you don't like the idea. Your position is different, and your salary grade most likely is as well. Plus, you are in charge of your employees. You could have the best relationship with them but that doesn't mean that you are equal to them.
As a leader, you should know by now that you are not one of your employees. You are different from them, admittedly, even if you don’t like the idea. Your position is different, and your salary grade most likely is as well. Plus, you are in charge of your employees. You could have the best relationship with them but that doesn’t mean that you are equal to them.
Still, that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t make an effort to get along with them or that you should always stand apart from them. Even if your status may be different, it is still a good idea to build stronger relationships with them and spend time with your team. Doing so can make them feel more comfortable with you as a person and as a boss, and can help all of you relate better with one another. Of course, that doesn’t mean you should all start sharing every single detail about your lives. There are still some lines you shouldn’t cross and things you shouldn’t say. As the boss, you have to be careful about this. You want to maintain people’s respect for you, and you don’t want to be privy to your employees’ deepest, darkest secrets, nor should they be privy to yours.
So how can you spend time with your team and get to know them better without oversharing? First of all, know which topics you should be drawing the line for. Obviously, you should avoid overly personal matters, the kinds of things people will cringe away from and which will change the way they see you entirely. Stick to safer topics in the beginning, and remember that you have some control over how close you will get to everyone. If they notice you’re not sharing certain aspects or talking about particular topics, they will know which ones to avoid.
Feel free to be looser and more humorous around your employees in situations outside of work. But remember that when you get back to the office, it should be all about business already. This also helps to set a standard and remind everyone that you mean business when it’s time to work.
It’s perfectly all right to get to know your team better and even cultivate friendships with every single one of the people in it. But there has to be a wall of some sort that will allow you to do your job, exercise your authority, and be their boss, not a buddy they can bug when they feel like it or someone they can take advantage of by trying to wheedle out of doing any work. Know where to draw the line and how to do it in a subtle way that won’t make your employees feel like they’ve been cut off abruptly, and find the perfect balance between friendly and professional.
Coaching your employees can help them be better at their jobs and help your company achieve its goals. But don’t force the process on them. Find out which one of them wants undergo coaching and focus your efforts on that employee.