First-Time Manager – What to Say When Old Friends Become Your Employees

You expect your friends and colleagues to be easily managed. They, of course, gave you a pat on the back and congratulated you when you received the announcement. But it probably did not take you long to discover that there are some problems in controlling the people who used to be your co-workers at work, whether they were close friends or just casual employees. Typical problems include:

How can I tell my friends that I cannot give them special treatment? For example, how can I explain that I cannot have a different appearance when they arrive late at lunchtime or have other serious performance problems?
How do I present the administration’s point of view, keeping in touch with my new direct reports? Moreover, how can I not seem like an imbecile when I criticize leadership?

Although it may be more convenient to avoid these issues, it’s better to resolve problems as soon as possible. Solving problems directly allows everyone to adapt faster. Do not wait for the development of an uncomfortable situation. Any new manager should meet individually with each of their direct reports during the first week of their new position and turn it into an agenda item after having undergone first time manager training.

Here are some examples of what you can say:

“Max, I want to maintain our friendship, and I want to be successful in my new role as manager. I really want to talk openly about this, not only today but also if one of us feels there is a problem in the future. This is new territory for us, and I do not want to exploit our friendship, my work or your satisfaction here.”

“I hope you understand that I cannot show you a preferential relationship, this would create a bad feeling in the team, and this is part of my job to make sure that we meet all the standards and deadlines. If you have any problem, feel free to approach me.”

“Janice, I know we drank and complained about management. Now that I am a manager, my goal is to understand why some approaches are being adopted and I can share my thoughts with you. What I do not want to do is visit more complaints. “

“I really hope I can count on you to give me honest comments, I want to be a manager who respects my team, and if you think I’m doing something that contradicts this, will you tell me?”

Final word

Regarding whether you can still meet people socially, smart minds differ in this. Because jealousy and a sense of competitiveness can persist, despite all your open communication efforts, there may be some relationships that do not arise in this regard. However, most experienced managers say that it’s definitely viable to maintain the friendship with those you currently administer. This can help activate when wearing a “friend” hat and when wearing a “boss” hat in the office and outside of it.