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Being in a leadership position is not always easy. Sometimes you have to make difficult or unpopular decisions for the good of the organization that make you the “bad guy” in the eyes of your employees. This can be challenging, especially when you want to be liked and respected by the people you manage.

As an effective manager, it is important to find a balance between being a friend to your employees and making the tough choices necessary for your job. Learn how build genuine personal relationships with your employees while still remaining professional.

Create an environment of respect.

You should set the tone for how your team interacts, and actions speak louder than words. Show employees respect and make it clear that you don’t tolerate disrespectful behavior toward others, and your behavior will demonstrate that you value them and their contributions to the team.

Listen first to understand.

Personal relationships at work often go sour because of miscommunications. Avoid this trap by asking questions and listening to the responses before jumping to conclusions or acting in anger. Make sure that you have the full story before you make judgments or take action. Get started with these five steps to improve your listening skills, and take your knowledge to the next level with EDSI’s Listen First to Understand course.

Give praise as well as criticism.

Don’t wait to give your employees feedback until they make mistakes. Be a supportive mentor, giving constructive feedback when necessary and credit for a job well done. Let your employees know that you are available for questions along the way; this strengthens your personal relationships and may prevent future problems.

Don’t get involved with the “blame game.”

Publicly pointing fingers is a surefire way to alienate people on your team and lose their trust. If you have a problem with an employee, talk with him or her privately and work it out directly. Focus on possible solutions, not just the problem at hand.

In what ways do you strengthen your personal relationships with employees?

Learn more in EDSI’s Professional Presence in a Casual World course.

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