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Very often, an organisation promotes employees from within into managerial positions. So it may be that one day you are sitting with your colleagues and friends complaining about the boss and the next day you are their boss.

This is perhaps one of the biggest professional and personal challenges; in such cases balancing friendships and getting the work done – with desired results – can become tricky.

Here are some guidelines to help you be a good manager while maintaining personal relationships:

Set clear expectations. Yes, you can still be best friends and have lunch together if you set clear expectations about deliverables from your subordinates. If you need to set certain boundaries, do so as soon as possible and share them with your friends individually.

Communicate and listen. Meet and give ample time to every member of your team individually at least once a week. Talk to them about their aspirations, expectations and problems. Then discuss and share what you expect from them, what key performance indicators (KPIs) you want to work on and how they can contribute.
Do keep the formal and informal chitchats going.

Be attentive. As the boss you need to learn the art of balancing your time amongst your subordinates. You must realise that people are always watching you and will notice if you give your friends more time and leeway. Give everyone adequate time to avoid team members from feeling demotivated and unhappy.

Be consistent. Once everyone is clear about their respective expectations, make a conscious effort to be consistent. Your friends should know that they will not be receiving any favours (with regard to deadline extensions, bonuses and promotions etc).

Remember, any favouritism towards your friends will reflect badly on you, so be a fair and consistent boss.

– Samir Dawoodani
The writer is a senior associate and consultant at Learning Minds Group. samir.d@learningmindsgroup.com

First published in the Careers Section of The DAWN National Weekend Advertiser on July 21, 2013.