For those of us that work in positions where we manage a team or support a group of people, we walk a fine line between personal and professional relationships.
It’s no wonder this is the case for many of us since we spend so much of our lives with the people we work with. Sometimes, it seems we spend more time with those at work than our own families.
This balancing act isn’t simply a black and white issue, either. Being too professional can label a person as cold or someone that is too guarded and trust issues will likely emerge. Swing the pendulum the other direction and we have a situation where others wonder if we’re so close to the people we work with that we react emotionally or we wouldn’t be able to make a hard decision.
To figure out where we might be in our work relationships, we can ask ourselves the following questions to help level-set.
- Think about the relationships in general. Do we share too much personal information with each other, information we would normally only share with family or close personal friends outside of work?
- How much time outside of work do we spend with each other?
- What has the feedback been about the working relationship? Do other people worry about or question our objectivity?
- Are we acting in such a way that we aren’t able to handle conflict or give honest feedback because we’re too close to each other?
- What do outsiders see? Is there or could there be a perceived or real conflict of interest in how we work with one another?
Finding the right middle ground between professional and personal can be tricky, but being able to ask ourselves a few questions to re-balance every now and then when things might be teetering off-center will help.