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Hi montano and welcome to the Community!
Thanks for sharing. This is some sound advice. I look forward to reading more about your experience in managing employees.
".....that acted in good faith toward their employees by showing concern and kindness in a friendly manner and this issue has created a great deal of stress in their life."
This is a really ambigious statement. Who has the stress now, the manager? If so that manager has chosen to have stress and is making the iemployee issue their personal issue.
I say this because working in my field I know hundreds of people. We have laughed, cried and shared each other happiness and sadness as well. I was at my former bosses deathbed and the only non family member ther as well. I know most of what is going on with my friends because they share, I share as well. Of course we choose what we share and don't throw up on people (just dumping a truckload of personal junk on others).
I suppose your approach would be acceptable in a structured corporate environment, but in the outside world it's just not possible we are all so interconnected.
montano wrote: It is always a good idea to refrain from listening to your staff about their personal issues, doing personal favors, excusing them from obligations because you know what their personal life is.
Whatever is going on in the employee's personal life will undoubtedly affect how he or she performs the job -- so unless the workplace is a nuclear submarine that has no contact with the outside world, the leader can't afford to simply ignore or dismiss those factors. Different people handle different stresses in different ways, and therefore need different things at different times from their leader (and from the organization at large) in order to function. One size does not fit all.
The important thing is not to show favoritism. Leaders are human, and there are some employees we naturally like more than others -- yet we cannot allow a personal relationship to develop to the point that an employee has (or is perceived to have) an "advantage" over other workers. We have to give our time and assistance to every follower equally. We have to treat every employee with dignity and respect, and provide an atmosphere where each individual, and the group as a whole, can achieve results.
I read this and almost cried.
I work with people I like, it is almost impossible to be part of a team in any capacity and not be involved with them. I have buried friends who were employees, and I am a better manager for being in their lives. When my wife and I lost a child, it was my employees rallying around me, taking on a lot of my responsibilities that allowed us to deal with our loss. My stores performed even better in my dark times because my employees wanted so badly to help - they even exceeded their own expectations. I was so proud of them. I had hired, trained, supervised and even written up some of these folks, and still they did for me.
I agree with DomainDiva and Lighthouse, this sounds like a theory that is not grounded in real world application. I have seen people get too close and I have seen them be too detached. Anytime you are dealing with extremes you are going to get results that are not reflective of the median. I appreciate the advice but it goes against who I am and how I want people to view working with me. I want them to know that I care. I find it so interesting that this post comes out the same day that the list of the best companies to work for is released. What a study in contrast.
I agree that you do need to be open with your employees. With some of my employees, I think that I would see them more hours during the week than their family. So we would develop a friendship but at the same time, we understood that were still employee and management boundaries of work that still had to be followed. Neither I nor they could take advantage of our friendship so the work would still get done. Unfortunately, I have had to terminate some of the people that I was friends with. I still see them from time to time and are still friends because we both understood our jobs. We secure enough in our friendship that we didn't let it interfere with our jobs.
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As a therapist in the Mental Health field I wanted to share my experience in how stressful life at work can become when you develop a friendly relationship with subordinates. Recently, I have some Directors, VP and Managers that acted in good faith toward their employees by showing concern and kindness in a friendly manner and this issue has created a great deal of stress in their life. It is always a good idea to refrain from listening to your staff about their personal issues,doing personal favors, excusing them from obligations because you know what their personal life is. Try to refrain from sharing your personal life also. This is part of formulating boundaries that need to be set when you are in a superior position. It is best to redirect your employee to a designated peer or counselor that can help them. This will preserve the limits and management structure. If a superior listens to what they have to share, it may be misunderstood as he is the only one that really cares and mixed feelings can come in the way of work related issues. Hope this helps those who are dealing in the corporate world and struggling thru it. Best regards, Maritza Montano, PhD,(LMHC)