Healthy boundaries are the foundation of any positive relationship. I’ve found that maintaining professional relationships with my team while still caring about their personal well-being is the best balance.
In the past I’ve hired personal friends, and that usually didn’t end well. In fact, my worst team nightmare came true when a friend turned against me and cost me over $100,000. It was a huge mistake to hire her, but an even bigger one to let her stay on the team too long. I tried to help her get better at her job when I should have let her go as soon as I saw she wasn’t the right fit.
That’s often what happens when we hire personal friends - we overlook or tolerate things we shouldn’t in their performance. That can lead to souring a relationship and making things far worse, even if your intentions are good.
It’s also important to respect your team’s time while setting clear expectations about when and how they need to show up. If they’re employees you set their work hours; if they’re contractors they set their work hours. But clear communication about these hours is important on both sides.
It’s ok to ask for someone to go above and beyond their normal work hours occasionally for special circumstances or emergencies, just don’t make this a habit. That’s a surefire way to burn your team members out.