Business Allies but not Friends – Week Fifty-Seven

Today at prayer, Liz and Josh suggested that we try out another guided imagery exercise. Both of them said that they had gotten so much out of this exercise the last two times that they really wanted to go for it again. Josh suggested that we choose the first few chapters of Job to land in for the day. So, we chose when Job lost his family and his possessions. This was a cool because I had never used this story and I was interested in how it would play out. We took turns reading the verses and then we were quiet for a while trying to give our imaginations over to the Holy Spirit so that He could guide us. We didn’t get to share that much about that because our time was short and because we had already shared about our businesses – Josh and his Lubbock landscaping and lawn care maintenance and Liz with her Lubbock catering. But I can say that I saw the absolute horror in Job’s face as I tried to comfort him in his loss. I hardly knew what to tell him since he had lost so much at once. He tried to keep a brave face but I could see how deeply sad he was. I just put my arms around him and said over and over how sorry I was for him. He responded by crying and thanking me for caring. I wondered how this whole thing would come to play in my life for the day, but I was struck with how much compassion I needed to carry into my dealings with others. After all, who really knows the extent of suffering that other strangers and friends are living with.

At the larger gathering of business owners and leaders, we had a financial planner named Jerry who spoke on the topic of being allies and leaders for our staffs. He said that too many business owners tried to be friends with their employees and this made it harder for us to give orders and even to lay down tough decisions that our staffs might not like. He said that in his business he had worked too hard to be buddies with his staff and that when it came time to cut back on his employees he found it hard to fire the people that he needed to fire. In fact, he said that he sacrificed bottom line profits for a long time by not firing his “friends” and how this almost cost him his business. For me this topic was a good one because I had made friendships a big thing at my work. I was too friendly with too many of my workers and I saw how this could influence my decision making with regards to my business. I decided that I needed to somehow back off on this style of leadership. I wasn’t sure how I was going to back off, but I knew that in future hirings I would keep a distance from staff. Not that I would be a jerk, but I would try what this guy was saying with regards to being an ally over being a close friend of workers.

So readers, what do you think about this advice? Have you ever made friends at work that clouded your decision-making? Please let me know what you did to remedy this situation? I’m interested in how you fixed these relationships without being cold to everyone around you. Thanks in advance…