Saturday, June 14, 2008

Employees are Employees, Not Friends - Azara Feroz Sayed

I had promised about posting this in an earlier post while talking about it in "What is our Brand" post

Their is one more aspect about personal branding that would need a separate post in itself and it is about team relationships. All the training programs that we attend talk about having fun with the team, being one with them and having no barriers with team members. Feroz would talks to me against it. He believes it is important to ensure the manager relationship doesn't deteriotes. I would argue with Feroz on this till I read article by Marc Crammer (Wharton Professor) who writes weekly in Bulletin (philadelphia newspaper). Does familiarity with Feroz (refer once again the parent v/s child post) gets in the way of me accepting Feroz's ideas without arguing while readily accepting the ones posted on the net!!

Feroz thoughts on Employee/Manager relationships are more in the light of the thoughts mentioned in "Parent v/s Child" post about building perspective - "We wouldn't expect a client or fellow-worker to respect our opinion if we presented it in our nightgown" - to be impersonal - to retain the respect!

Below is Marc's post on Employee Relationship

All too often the line between an employee and employer or a manager and a subordinate can become blurred. For many people, there is no controlling the heart when they allow their emotions to hijack their good sense. Yet it is hard for people in the working world not to seek friendships in the workplace because we all spend more time at the office than we do with family and friends outside the office.
Over the first 10 years I was in business, I have stepped over the line between boss and employee numerous times, only to regret it. Here are 10 areas I have learned to avoid so as not to cross the line.
1. Birthday parties: I have been invited to employee birthday parties and weddings. I politely decline and send a gift.
2. Sporting events: The only times I go with employees to games is if we are buying group tickets as a way to reward employees or we are taking out clients.
3. Dinner: I will have lunch with an employee to discuss a business matter, but I won't have lunch just to socialize. I never do dinner unless it is with a client or prospective client.
4. Personal problems: I am not a social worker and I am not their parents. A big problem with handling personal problems is that you become too involved. The employee calls your home and shows up late, thinking you will understand. Eventually, other employees resent your preferential treatment with no appreciation for the good deed you are trying to do.
5. Sports activities: Golfing, jogging, tennis and biking are very personal activities. Bonds are developed. Personal thoughts and problems are shared.
6. Loaning money: I once loaned money to a janitor who worked for me, a good guy who was down on his luck. Unfortunately, he thought I was his personal piggy bank.
7. Driving together: A client of mine gave one of her employees a ride for one month because their car was in an accident. The employee got so used to being picked up that when my client couldn't pick up the employee, she got upset. My client should have suggested the employee rent a car or get a friend, relative or fellow employee to drive them.
8. Gifts: Never give a personal gift. It's one thing to give a book related to business; it's another to give a personal gift.
9. Drinking: Going to a bar for a drink after a hard day is a very bad idea. People sometimes lose their professional demeanor.
10. Vacationing: I have actually had a business associate tell me he went on a vacation with an employee because they had grown so close. A couple of years went by and the employee started a competing business and used what he knew about his employer/friend to go into business. Eventually the employee put the employer out of the business.
You can be friendly, share a joke and talk about how the local sports teams are doing, but keep it light and impersonal, or there could be consequences.


Add to Technorati Favorites My Zimbio
Top Stories