As a manager, you might be tempted to please and appease all your staff.
This might resolve some immediate conflicts and issues. In the long run, however, this can balloon into more problems than you originally had.
After all, if you tell one of your employees one thing, and tell another something different, at some point the two conflicting viewpoints will result in confusion and chaos.
The best plan of attack is to keep your working relationship professional. That way, your team will have a better idea of what to expect from you. They’ll be more likely to listen to you and respect your authority.
Here are some of the big problems associated with trying to be everyone’s friend.
Getting Too Personal Can Harm Your Reputation
You’ve been hired for a purpose, and that purpose isn’t to become friendly with the employees you’re overseeing. You are being paid for your time and services.
The lines between professional and personal can sometimes blur, especially as you continue to see familiar faces day after day. But this is how workplace romances and rumors can get started, and that can quickly spiral out of control. Relationships can also affect workplace performance negatively.
This isn’t to suggest you shouldn’t be friendly toward your team, but you should remain professional in every regard.
Worst case scenario, you could end up being fired for not maintaining healthy boundaries.
Failing To Maintain Your Authority Could Decrease Your Team’s Productivity
As a manager, you are the authority in the workplace. Your employees are looking to you for guidance, support, and training. Failing to empower them to do their job is a surefire way to cause confusion in the workplace. Plus, it’s unlikely your standards will be met as employees carry out their specific tasks.
If you don’t do your job well, and lead by example, what reason do your team members have to perform at their very best? A lack of authority can lead to poor morale and reduced productivity, because your team doesn’t trust you and believe you’re a competent worker.
If you want to maintain your authority, you can’t be everyone’s best friend. It’s important that your team looks to you for the final say. Even if they don’t particularly like you, if they respect you, they will do as they’ve been asked to do.
When You’re Everybody’s Friend, You’re Nobody’s Friend
The main reason so much confusion can come from trying to be everyone’s friend is that when you deal with them as individuals, everyone ends up being told a different story. Some may be told they can leave work early. Others may be told to complete their tasks in a thorough manner, while people in the very same department are being told it’s okay to skip steps.
It may not happen immediately, because but at some point, this is going to result in conflict. Restoring trust in your employees after making such a blunder can be a challenge. This erodes their confidence in you and tarnishes your authority. It can affect your own self-confidence too.
When you try to be everyone’s friend, you end up being no one’s friend, because everyone loses sight on what standards they’re trying to uphold, and what is expected of them.
As you can see, there are certain dangers to people pleasing. Some people exhibit this tendency more than others. The key is to understand both your strengths and weaknesses as a manager. If you feel you might be a people pleaser, then it’s critical to understand this about yourself, and come up with strategies on how to navigate it in the workplace.
Maintain a healthy working relationship with your team. If you feel you may be tempted to compromise your authority, then talk with your superior and come up with ideas on how to overcome these challenges.