Can you be friends with your employees?

Today "MattGron Talks" turns 100! At least the 100th episode airs today. In this episode, Mattias and Svea are discussing whether friendships between bosses and employees are a good idea and what to think about when blending private and professional relationships.

Empathy vs. being a friend

Firstly Mattias emphasizes that whether blending professional and private relationships is a good or bad idea, depends a lot on who you are as a person and what kind of leadership style you are executing. He personally strives to be an authentic leader which also means that he is leading with an open heart and most importantly a lot of empathy. For Mattias, there is a difference between having empathy for your employees and being friends, but he also admits that he has been struggling to find the balance between the two as well.

Treating employees equally

Regardless, he believes that it is possible to be a friend and a boss at the same time, as long as you understand that the responsibility of how to navigate the relationship is on you as the leader.
One important thing to keep in mind is, there are similarities between building a company and building a family - you need to treat everyone equally and can't make people feel like you have favorites. However, as long as you pay close attention to navigate through your professional relationship with this mindset, it is absolutely possible to have a friendship outside of the work context.

Challenges with close relationships

Mattias also looks at the topic from another point of view: letting a personal relationship turn into a professional one. Needless to say, this scenario can also be very challenging. At one point he even decided against hiring his own brother into his company, even though he would have been a great fit and a person with the right beliefs. At that point in time, the working relationship would have been too close for Mattias taste since the company is still relatively small. However, he could imagine getting someone on board who is close to him privately when iGoMoon has grown to a certain size, where there is not a direct working relationship between him and that person.

Being a boss and a friend can be possible, as long as you treat everyone equally inside your company and take complete responsibility for your actions.

What's your take on bosses and employees being friends?

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