“Get employees excited to work for you. An enthusiastic and positive work environment is felt by the customer.”
– Shep Hyken
Two Types of Successful Work and Personal Relationships
There are two types of successful relationships in the workplace: ones that involve a blend of both work and personal relationships, and relationships where people distinctly separate the two. Coworkers who decide to blur the lines between work and personal have to develop an understanding of roles. A company leader who spends time with subordinates outside of the workplace has to establish themselves as an authoritative figure in the office, and a more casual personality outside of it. They can show their personal side to create a deeper connection with their employees, but, when an employee steps out of line, they need to be able to handle the situation in a leadership role and not as a friend.
Leaders who choose to keep their personal lives separate from their work lives have an easier time commanding respect and leading their employees. However, they may struggle when it comes to influencing them. The struggle comes from a lack of personal connection that can inspire their team to work better. The relationship is not only developed by the leader, but also by how the employee chooses to interact with their team and the cultural environment of the company.
Company culture can dictate the type of relationships employees develop in their teams. Formal corporations that work in an office with a business dress code will encourage a professional, compartmentalized culture. This environment allows employees to focus on the task at hand and leave their personal life at the door. This does not mean that personal life is not discussed, but it is limited to increase productivity. Smaller and more personal atmospheres focused on creativity tend to be more personable with a lower work yield. These kind of offices focus more on the quality of ideas and usually fewer projects, unlike the efficiency of larger companies. These cultures can vary from industry to industry and there is no right or wrong answer. Certain environments work better for certain companies. Ultimately, the comfort level depends on the individual employees and leaders.
Company leaders play a key role in enabling their employees to establish a comfort level. When a leader responds to the employee’s comfort, the control allows the employee to establish accountability and reveal how the company can best respond to their needs. An employee who needs more help will feel comfortable connecting with a supervisor on a personal level, which will develop trust and dependability. A more independent employee may wish to keep their personal life separate because it allows them to take their mind off work once out of the office or allows them to control group perception. Leaders who are tuned in to these kinds of needs have a better idea on how to set up their team for success because treating the whole team the same way will not maximize each employee’s potential.
It is important for leaders to understand and respect the type of working relationships their employees would like to build. If they tune in to what each member of their team needs, they can build accountability and trust that will make their team more successful. The team as a whole will also develop a culture that will help define the personality of the company. Sometimes the personality of the company is cultivated by the industry, but leaders are the glue that holds the team together by asserting their authority when necessary, while also allowing personal connections to create positive influences.
Are you fostering successful relationships that allow your employees to grow?