Team Management

By Christina Suter on Jun 02, 2018 at 08:00 AM in Business Issues
Team Management

As a good employer and a kind person, you want to see and understand the humanity and human needs of your employees. You've probably worked for a person who saw you as just an employee or just a number and knowing how that felt, you run your business differently so people feel part of a community. Employees leave managers, not companies, so being a team leader who manages people in their team is important.

Sometimes our good intentions don't work. I have spoken before about the importance and difference between being friendly with your employees, but not being friends with them. Employees show up to do the job for which you hired them. They want to enjoy their work, be successful at their job, and to be acknowledged by their boss. Friends are people who show up for each other in personal ways, they help you move, they attend your kids' birthday parties, they're available to listen when you want to share good or bad news. There is a currency to friendship and a currency of employment. When you're hired to work you're expected to be paid with money and the satisfaction of the work you produced. When you're in a friendship relationship you pay and are paid with time, focus, help, etc.

What if you asked your employees to show up emotionally for you? What if you were experiencing an overwhelming day and you shared all the things that contribute to that overwhelm with you? What if you were moving and you asked them to come to your house to help you move? What if you shared your concerns about the amount of money you run, and that they work for, is making. What if you show up for them emotionally and you hold their secrets?

Inevitably, as human beings who spend a lot of time together, there will be times when you are there for each other. Sometimes you do listen to concerns unrelated to work and sometimes employees hold that same space for you because you're understanding. But don't make that a habit, that's not the currency of their employment with you. It's not their primary focus or what they have you in their lives for. At work, you're to be their friendly boss, not their friend. Their feeling of competency, accomplishment, and autonomy is why they're there.

Employees may begin to doubt your competency as a leader if you overshare. When you share your overwhelm or doubts they may feel unsure about their job, they may feel used, and they may think you're not actually running the show. Employees will begin double-guessing your directives; you'll tell them what to do and they'll tell you how they want to do it. They'll tell you how to run your company. These are indicators that you've overshared, crossed the friendly boundary, and used your employee as a friend. When employees begin to ask you about payroll or how the money is flowing, you are to be held accountable for those concerns. Employees shouldn't know that information.

Employees show up to contribute and they want to feel successful and know they're doing a good job, give them that respect, don't cross the boundary into making them your friend.