by Sam Chand
Think about the small businesses you see on a daily basis. They may be law firms, retail shops, pet adoption agencies…the variety is nearly endless. Every small organization begins with someone who works with their friends or family. The only people they have to support them at this point are those who love them the most. Then, as the business grows, these friends become employees.
When this happens, a big change occurs. It’s a change we often miss, and we seldom talk about it in our organizational circles. Any time someone else controls your work schedule and tells you what to do, you cannot maintain the same relationship you had before they signed your paycheck. Yes, as a leader, you can still honor and respect your employees; but the positions on the board have shifted.
The time we spend with family members who work for us outside of work will decrease. Friends have drifted apart because of work situations like this. There will inevitably be changes in your relationship. It’s important to acknowledge and accept this before you hire a close friend or family member, so that both parties are prepared for it.
Friends may drift apart after a time. Family may not always be able to talk about non-work subjects with the same ease. Even when you communicate on the front end of the change, friendship still has its limits. You must govern your employees with an employer mindset—not a friend mindset. It can be difficult to do so, but the success of your organization depends on it.
Simply put, keep in mind the chasm between “employee” and “friend.” Sooner or later, you’ll have to deal with it.