Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Balancing managing and friending

I have had some number of jobs in my lifetime. Since moving to the US in 1997, I have never not had a job. All those jobs had managers. Some better than others. Some male, some female. Their genders had nothing to do whether they were good or bad. This is a story about one of those managers.

I had this one manager who was always dour. No matter if the manager was given the employees a good review or a bad one. The employees always walked on eggshells around him and were afraid to speak up. The slightest misstep got the employees the worst dressing down ever.

One manager was very nice. I felt lucky to have gotten that job and that manager. That manager was so friendly, so open, so approachable. With everyone. Even the employees who weren't performing. The employees who were obviously the wrong fit. The employees who were causing issues in client meetings. The employees who were causing issues in our team.

Where's the balance? Where should a manager draw the line between being friendly with the manager's employees and actually being their boss. I don't have an answer. Last time I was a manager was at the food services in a university. Most of my employees were drunk and high and I was glad when they actually showed up.

* the names and even genders of the people involved have been hidden including the time line, to protect the innocent

1 comment:

Shannon said...

I think it's a very fine line for some managers. Unfortunately, I think, just like parenting, you can't be "friends" with everyone.

As a parent, you have to parent your children, not be their friend. As a manager, you have to manage people first and foremost. It might be difficult, and nobody wants to be disliked, but there are some people who would take advantage of a friendly manager.