Managing the transition from friend to boss is both common and challenging, especially in the restaurant industry. If you are struggling as a new-in-position manager, you are not alone. 60% of first time managers surveyed found managing people that were once their peers was the toughest challenge. Yet, friends are incredibly important at work.

A Gallup poll suggests that team members with a good friend at work are: 51% more engaged, 65% said laughter or humor played a positive role in productivity, and 75% planned to be with their company one year from now.

On the flip side, having close friends at work once a team member is promoted to management can create some friction. Or worse, cause new managers to run afoul of company policies.

So, what can you do?

  1. Acknowledge the shift from friend to boss at work. While you can still be friends, it’s important that everyone be clear that your work relationship has changed. Don’t assume the effects of your promotion are understood. Instead, take the opportunity to discuss your new role and responsibilities and explain how it will change the dynamics of work. For example, managers should hold even accountability and not play favorites at work.
  2. Accept that your friendship may change or end. As you go from friend to boss, your relationship with your friend will have to change. Some friends will be up for those changes while others will not and choose to move on. Either way, it’s natural for relationships to evolve and grow closer or apart.
  3. Embrace your entire team. While the dynamic with your friend(s) at work may be changing, you also have the opportunity to build healthy relationships with everyone on the team as a respected leader. Get to know your team, their strengths and weaknesses, and goals to cultivate healthier connections with everyone not just a few people with whom you feel most comfortable.
  4. Understand that perception is reality. In a psychological sense, team members all experience the world through our own lens and that is their reality. The team members you manage will form perceptions based on many factors: communication levels, praise & recognition offered, how you hold accountability, and more. When it comes to work decisions, stay focused on being fair especially when it comes to management decisions regarding team members.
  5. Avoid some common traps. Don’t gossip, overshare or vent to co-workers. Avoid doing favors or giving a free pass based your friendship. Don’t take out your frustration or blame on your friend. If your company has a fraternization policy, read and follow it closely.

Read 10 Ways to Lead a Perfect Restaurant Shift

If you’re new to management, read 10 Ways to Lead a Perfect Restaurant Shift. The Perfect Restaurant Shift is a key ingredient in the recipe to having a strong restaurant business. This post shares 10 ways you and your restaurant management team can lead highly effective shifts to make your restaurant as successful as possible.

About Consult to Grow

Consult to Grow provides a variety of services to help you grow your restaurant business including grow & scale assessments, quick build 12 month traction plans, and more. You can read through our core service by clicking here.  If we can help you in any way, please don’t hesitate to contact us

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