Managing relationships in the workplace can be difficult but you can make them work with these five tips.
Managing relationships in the workplace can be difficult for the supervisory team but they can be successful and even add to a workplace if people know that when they step into a professional work situation, this is where their personal life ends and their professional life begins. When there are no defined rules for workplace relationships, it can be hard for a management team to lead their staff – here are five tips for happy workplace relations.
Ask employees to be discrete
One of the difficulties of managing relationships in the workplace is when partners or friends share confidential information. This can be hard to monitor but in general all staff members should be aware that they should not discuss any work issues outside of their departments or teams and it is a sackable offence. Managers should be equally mindful not to indulge any confidential information to colleagues or team members.
Remain professional at all times
When you are speaking to employees, ask them to confine their discussions to a business nature only even if they know their colleagues in a personal context and keep intimate discussions limited to their breaks or outside of work hours. It is healthy to befriend other colleagues but it is also important to set boundaries for your employees and ensure they understand what is and isn’t appropriate workplace behaviour.
Treat everyone equally
When managing relationships in the workplace, you need to treat everyone equally regardless of your personal affiliation with them. You cannot be seen to show favouritism or alternatively be overly critical to employees who you are friends with outside of the office. If you treat everyone the same regardless of status and your relationship with them, you will encourage an amicable and equal work culture.
Know when to draw the line
There are benefits to having employees who have relationships in the workforce and it can lead to a harmonious and happy workforce but it can also quickly turn nasty. You cannot prevent people from becoming friends or dating but you need to intervene if productivity levels are affected, cliques are being formed and they are counter-productive and/or there is office bullying or gossiping directed at certain individuals.
Know your rights
Don’t attempt to implement a policy of your own where none exists. There may be informal rules that may apply to managing relationships in the workplace but these are rarely formalised. When you speak to colleagues about their behaviour, you must be compliance with the current laws and regulations of your city or country. It’s not an easy line to walk, tread carefully or you may find yourself embroiled in a law suit.
Lead by example, if employees see that their supervisor is having personal chats in corridors, acting unprofessionally in and outside of work or disclosing personal information, they will model that behaviour. It is not always desirable that colleagues develop a relationship but it is inevitable it may happen so managing relationships in the workplace is a communication skill all decision makers should develop.