Friendships in the workplace aren’t bad (in fact, they can be very positive), but young workers have a tendency to view their coworkers as friends more than other employees. When friends start getting promoted and managing one another, these relationships can pose problems.
How to identify the ‘friend’
This is a leader that is congenial, well-liked, and has above average soft-skills. They are extremely supportive of their employees and approach management interactions more like coworker relationships.
This individual refrains from having tough or crucial conversations with their employees and fails to acknowledge or manage conflict, frequently avoiding it altogether.
They often don’t manage performance well, and put up with poor results to maintain a positive relationship.
In essence, they focus on being their employees’ friend, rather than their manager or leader. In fact, some of these leaders may be managing previous coworkers or friends of theirs. They may even engage in behaviors that are considered unprofessional for a leader, such as participating in informal social activities, becoming Facebook friends with their subordinates, or gossiping about other employees.
How to develop
This individual doesn’t necessarily need training in soft skills, but does need training on core management principles, such as performance management, feedback, and conflict management.
These will be uncomfortable topics for this individual that you may need to address multiple times. They may also need to be coached on how to balance creating supportive relationships and interactions with their employees with results and getting the job done.
Some will also need to better understand the role of the leader and how to act professionally with their employees.
A lot of the time, an employee who has recently been promoted to a supervisor role doesn't always have the resources available to them to be a successful leader. By sending your employee through a supervisor training series, it will teach them the fundamental topics that any manager would need in order to lead in the most effective manner.
In the end, it will not only benefit the employee, but also the company to have a well-skilled supervisor helping operate the organization.
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