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balance between friend and manager

I have recently moved to a management position. The people I now manage are guys who have become my friends during my time at work. What I am trying to figure out is how do I maintain my workplace friendships and still get my job done as their manager?

I have to remind myself that our interactions at the office are not personal. Work is work and we can be friends after hours. During the work day I need to stay professional and deal with the work related issues required of me. I want to remain part of my team’s social group but also have to earn and maintain the respect I need to be an effective leader.

Another distinction to try make is, as a friend, I want to help them with tasks to make it easier or support them. But as their manager, I need to let go and allow them to complete it themselves. It is not possible to manage someone else’s feelings, instead I need to focus on doing the best job I can and make my team feel like they have a supportive leader who empowers them to do a great job.

I want to make a positive contribution to the team so I shall aim to make the transition to manager as smooth as possible. I realise I won’t be able to please everybody, even though it’s in my nature to do this. I will either kill myself trying or find a way to turn my attention to concentrating on managing the majority effectively.


Why do we shudder to watch ourselves on TV?

We recently had a photographer filming in and around our office. The last few weeks have felt like being inside the ‘Big Brother House”! It went from personal interviews with scripted questions almost simulating a diary room session, to the camera man randomly filming you going about your daily duties. This must be what I feels like to be on an episode of “Reality TV”. Kind of.

But what I noticed from this excitement, and really what this post is about, is how confident and social people dislike seeing themselves on screen. I am generally quite shy, therefore I was surprised that even these types of characters, who come across as self-assured, even shy away from recorded viewings of themselves. It made us all highly uncomfortable to see or hear ourselves on TV.

Discomfort comes for 2 reasons:

My inside voice is different to my outside voice

When we speak we receive the sound from the air around us, as well as vibrations conducted via the bones and tissues in our head. Recordings only capture the air-conducted sounds and that is why our perception of how we sound is skewed. It is quite jarring to hear my voice and realise that every time I speak people hear something different to what I do.

Physical perception 

The way I see myself is different to how others see me, and I am reminded of this when I watch myself on TV. We all have expectations of how we carry ourselves, our body language, our facial expressions etc, and when we are watching ourselves back on screen we are (often unwillingly) forced to accept that our impressions of ourselves is not always aligned with the image we have in our heads.

As social beings, we act as if we don’t really care what others think, and generally in most cases we aren’t too concerned with other peoples opinions, but essentially we are creatures that want and need to fit into our social universe. Humans are naturally drawn to making connections and sensing how others perceive us, allowing us to authentically connect and reap the satisfaction of these connections. Psychologically, if the idea I have of “me” is not how I come across, this is bound to place stress on my mental state. A fun experiment would be, to be a fly on the wall so I can get out of my head and truly see how people see me without my own voice (and insecurities) influencing my reality.