How Personal Is Too Personal? Tips for Remaining Professional with Work Relationships

Humans are a social species. We enjoy spending time together and interacting. It’s not uncommon for us to make friends at work, even with those in higher- or lower-ranking positions. However, personal relationships can sometimes get in the way of work, especially if you have become personal with someone who works directly beneath you.

If you are a supervisor, manager or another position which directly oversees the work of others, the most important factor is knowing your job description and being able to follow through with it completely. If your job description is confusing or isn’t thorough, ask for clarification from your manager or supervisor. If you happen to own your own business, write a description for yourself and let it be known.  Your job description should answer – directly or indirectly – whom it is you report to and get assignments from, and who you oversee.

Ask your supervisor what the employee-management relationship guidelines are per the company. This will let you know how far a personal friendship can go in the workplace without crossing any lines or making others feel bad.

When you’re working, it’s easy to become friends with someone in your department. However, problems can sometimes arise when you take the working relationship into a personal relationship. For example, It may be a common thing for the guys from work to go grab a beer every Thursday. As a manager, this can become a tricky situation. Hanging out with some employees and not others can quickly become seen as unfair, and it is in some senses. Once you’ve developed a personal relationship with certain employees and not others, it may become more difficult to keep a tight-knit and friendly working environment, especially if certain parties begin to feel you are biased when delegating tasks or disciplining.

Does your company have a policy or guidelines for relationships in your office?

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