It is wise to keep one's personal life separate from business, as emotions cloud one's rational sensibilities. When one is confronted with the opportunity to work with friends or other personal acquaintances, a fine line is always walked. If something is soured with business then the friendship is affected and vice versa. Etiquette is the language of conscious behavior, so here are some high-minded tips in navigating through the sea of friendship and business:
- Always remain mindful of how your actions are going to affect the other.
- Seek win-win situations.
- Look out for your friend’s best interest. Voice constructive feedback and avoid unnecessary criticism. Communicate in a manner that will not humiliate or harm your friend in any manner.
- Avoid nepotism.
- Agree to keep your personal and work affairs private.
- Refrain from gossip.
- When in conflict, do not let your emotions get the best of you. When working on a project, keep your focus on the task at hand. Work out personal issues privately.
- Yelling, belittling or abruptly interrupting is totally unprofessional and inappropriate. No matter what the situation is, the person who yells, belittles or is disrespectful ALWAYS looks bad.
- Termination- Should a friend be terminated for unlawful practices, you will need to evaluate the validity of the friendship. If the friend requires treatment and the friendship is of value, remain supportive and avoid gossip.
- Should a friendship terminate due to different work styles, assess what you have learned and apply it to future situations.
- When friendships develop at work, remember that work is the higher objective. Both people may compete for the same position and monetary gains and losses are at stake.
- When you are at risk of jeopardizing a friendship, always assess the pros and cons. Is it worth it?
- Friendships and good work colleagues are not always synonymous.
- If roles within a company are of different rankings, remain honest and mature. If the situation does not appear to be working productively, discuss this and if possible, make other arrangements. When things go wrong in this situation, they go bad fast.
- The only person you have control of is yourself.
Life is enriched through friendships as well as the development of a career, monetary gains or the development of philanthropic efforts. Each of these aspects of life are very personal and can affect an individual and family profoundly. It is a miracle when the personal and professional life intertwine with perfection. The main goal is to be mindful of what constitutes the friendship and how this friendship will translate within a work environment. Making friendships while at work can serve as an invaluable resource in enhancing and developing a career as well as promoting personal satisfaction. It is also true, that work friendships may not translate well when intermixing with your family or outside friendships. Again, being sensitive to the true nature of the relationship is always the objective. Working with friends is a personal as well as professional endeavor. Balancing these two aspects is an art. My advice, act with conscious intent.
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