I’m nice to a fault and it’s one of my biggest vices in business. This has certainly made it harder for me to navigate the waters of boss and friend as my businesses grow, but I think it’s important to be both to your employees even past the startup phase.
Regardless of the all the research out there about how employee performance increases as friendships in the workplace do as well, from a personal standpoint I firmly believe that you create a stronger culture when you care as the CEO.
Before I worked for myself, I had one truly amazing boss in corporate America and boy did she also excel at being my friend. She made me genuinely feel like she cared about my life as a whole. That made all the difference in my happiness and it also made me feel so very valued during my time spent working for her. She set the tone for how I wanted to be when I did go off on my own, and I still strive to be like her.
It’s certainly hard to strike this balance, but here are 7 ways to succeed at this in your own company, and I’m basing this off of my own experience.
Keep Things Need To Know
It’s certainly important to be honest with your employees and you should feel comfortable speaking to them. That being said, don’t overshare with your employees.
You absolutely don’t need to tell them about every little issue going on with the business, and you also should not tell them information about your company that is sensitive or proprietary.
Take a good hard look at what your employees absolutely need to know to do their jobs, and don’t share with them beyond that.
Find One Person To Confide In Who Doesn’t Work For You
Finding someone to confide in who doesn’t work for you goes a long way in keeping your boss/friend balance functional at your company. Being the CEO means you’re always going to know way too much, and since you shouldn’t be sharing certain things with your employees you need to have one best friend outside the office who you can share relevant issues with.
You need someone neutral. You need someone who can help you work through the bigger picture.
You Don’t Have To Be Popular
Even though you’re working to maintain a boss/friend balance with your employees, the reality is you’re not always going to be well liked and guess what? That’s ok. It’s beyond ok.
You don’t have to be popular and if you’re truly good at business you’re not always going to be, because as the boss you need to step up and be authoritative at times.
Keeping employees on track means that they’re not always going to like what you have to say or do, and they also won’t always understand that you’re acting in the best interest of the business.
Keep It Gossip Free
Gossip just doesn’t have a place in business, and it shouldn’t have a place in topics of conversations you have with your employees.
Side note: this also doesn’t contribute to productivity or company culture in any way, shape, or form.
It’s Ok To Go Out For Drinks
It’s ok to go out for drinks with your employees or do things outside the office, but make sure you always act appropriately. What I’m trying to say is don’t start doing body shots with them and end up sloppier than a freshman at their first college party.
There’s just no way your employees can respect you if you act like this and it’s going to jeopardize your authority as the boss.
It’s important to stay consistent with every employee you have. Be friendly with all of them and invest you time in every single one so nobody feels left out or excluded.
Feelings of exclusion defeat the whole purpose of being friends with your employees, after all.
It’s important to have your recruiting and hiring strategies down pat so that you can add more employees to your team that seamlessly fit with the culture you have built.
Hiring people that not only respect you but are not afraid to speak up and have an open dialogue with you is paramount.
Bre is a female millennial go getter residing in New York. One part entrepreneur, one part geek, she obtained her degree in Textile/Surface Design from The Fashion Institute of Technology.
She has held some exciting roles in both fashion as a designer working for brands like Victoria’s Secret and Henri Bendel, as well as in ad tech working for publishers like Ziff Davis.
Today she operates her own luxury label Bre Avery, along with Chip Chick Media which reaches millions of women each month.
Bre is passionate about teaching women how to build a business and be an entrepreneur, in addition to keeping her readers informed of the latest technology trends and exciting products to improve their lifestyles.
You can send Bre a message here.