Managing Friends and Family at the Workplace: Part 2 – Set Boundaries and Expectations

3 mins read

This article is written to provide you with an understanding why it is important to set boundaries and clear expectations when working or planning on employing friends and family.

Before you begin working with someone from your personal life who you have a pre-existing relationship with, it is important to set up an initial meeting to discuss boundaries and set clear expectations of what the working relationship will look like.

During this meeting, everyone who is close with one another should have the opportunity to have an open and honest conversation about the professional relationship and what they consider the appropriate social expectations are.

It is crucial that the discussion involves how everyone is going to work together in the future. We recommend bringing in a facilitator or a neutral party to navigate the conversation and who will help bring awareness to the potential situations that could cause distractions or hinder workflow.

Once boundaries and expectations have been set, its important that you do not forget them and should set regular follow-up meetings with everyone. When conducting these meetings, list out everything that is working and all the things that are not working. It is important that when discussing the things that are not working to focus the attention on the results that are happening, instead of having a conversation about what someone is doing or the emotions that are involved.

By listing out the positive and negative results, you will begin to have a foundation of things to celebrate and improve on going forward.

When establishing ground rules, be sure they are reasonable and attainable. The base of these rules is how everyone is going to work together, going forward. Ensure that the expectations are clear, and that everyone involved understands that they will be playing by the same set of rules and expectations. Or if that isn’t the case, that everyone understands the terms and conditions of their roles in the company. It is crucial to document these expectations, so that all parties can commit and hold themselves (and each other) accountable.

It is important to set up regular meetings, so the boundaries and expectations are not lost, this way the business needs will continue to stay ahead.

For more on managing friends and family in the workplace, please be sure to see part 3 of the series, “Avoid Bringing Personal Problems to the Workplace”.

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