Being Friendly vs. Being a Friend

Mike Donoghue is a member of a multinational information technology corporation where he collaborates on the communications guidelines and customer relationship strategies affecting the interactions with internal and external clients. He has analyzed, defined, designed and overseen processes for various engagements including product usability and customer satisfaction, best practice enterprise standardization, relationship/branding structures, and distribution effectiveness and direction. He has also established corporate library solutions to provide frameworks for sales, marketing, training, and support divisions.

While it is possible (and necessary) to be a friendly project manager to your team, being a friend should be avoided. In general, managers and their staff can have a lot of baggage attached to them when those boundaries are crossed. Bosses can be seen as playing favorites with assignments and promotions, despite the fact that they might be very objective in their decision making.

Likewise, employees that have a strong relationship with their supervisors may be considered “suck-ups” or not held accountable to the same standards as other team members, regardless of the reality.

That being said, an organization that has good camaraderie within the body of its workforce can increase employee satisfaction, which can then increase morale as well as productivity. Additionally, managers that are not “locked away” in their offices have a role in building these relationships within the staff and creating a strong office culture, but only to foster motivation—not to develop friendships for themselves.

Building a “friendly work environment” requires a combination of the following:

Level Playing Field
It is important to remove as much personal bias as you can in your dealings with associates. Being friendly versus being a friend makes all the difference. The members of your project team need to feel they are all treated equally and as a…

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