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Instead of Being Friends With Your Employees, Do This

Friendships with your direct reports may cause problems. You need to treat everyone fairly, and if you are closer to one employee and not others, you may be biased. And even if you’re completely fair, you still seem biased, which isn’t good for morale.

But, what can you be if you are not friends with your direct correspondent? The fifth grade teacher gave her students the following instructions:

You can’t be best friends with everyone but you can

  • Everyone notice
  • Be friendly with everyone
  • Make room for everyone
  • root for all
  • sympathy for everyone

While the teacher meant this to the students, not the superiors, all principles are consistent. Here’s what that might mean for you in the office.

Everyone noticed.

Management allowed you to walk around saying “hello” to everyone every day. It is not that easy with people who work from home or in different offices. As a manager, take the time to notice all of your employees—and tell them. Say thank you for things, praise people when appropriate, and keep up with key events in employees’ lives.

Be friendly with everyone.

If someone is beyond repair and does not deserve friendly interactions, fire them. If you don’t want to kick someone out, be friendly. There is a difference between friends and friends. A friendly manager goes to lunch with all her staff from time to time. (One-to-one or in a group, and the boss pays.) A friendly boss wishes the employees a happy birthday, asks how the employees’ children or pets are working, and doesn’t shout. You can give negative feedback while being friendly – no insults or attacks. Just be nice.

Make room for everyone.

Is there a clique in your business? They can be easy to spot when everyone is working in the office. If six people are in a group and five go to lunch together every day, you know the sixth is excluded. But, it can be hard to see exclusion in the virtual world. Make sure you don’t exclude people. Ask people by name to share their opinions on conference calls. Follow it up with people If you don’t hear anything from someone for a few days (it can happen when people are away), check in. Give credit to everyone who worked on the project.

root for all.

Quick Quiz: How do you act when your best employee comes to you and says, “Here’s two weeks’ notice. You’ve got a new job!”?

You can get angry and hurt, or you can congratulate. Try saying, “Wow! That’s a great move! You’re going to be awesome!” Showing your enthusiasm for people helps grow a culture of cooperation and positivity.

When someone is struggling, give them encouragement and praise when they succeed. Really want people to succeed. Do not use performance improvement plans such as termination documents; Approach them as a way to help your employee succeed.

Sympathy for everyone.

Just because your job is tough doesn’t mean your immediate employees don’t have tough jobs either. You may be a morning person and have no problem getting up for a meeting at 7:00 AM with Europe, while your employee may be a night owl and struggle with those early morning meetings. Be good. sympathy.

Try to look at things from other people’s point of view. If you can’t figure out where someone is coming from, ask them to explain again, repeat what you think they mean, and try again if you’re wrong. You don’t have to agree with someone to empathize with them.

If you follow these few classroom tips, you can improve your managerial relationship with your employees. This is worth your time.

The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.

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