Many of the best company cultures result from the relationships employees form with each other.  While lunch breaks and office happy hours can be a natural part of work relationships, it is equally important to make sure friendship does not overshadow work responsibilities.  No matter how strong the friendships are between employees or how incredible your office culture is, effective job performance and overall workplace efficiency should remain top priorities.


One of the manager’s work responsibilities is to make sure employees perform well in their job duties. This can become more difficult when relationships with employees start to blur the lines. Can a manager be effective in monitoring performance if he or she meets a fellow employee for brunch on Saturday morning? What if the two vacation together during time off? While there can be many successful business models where this is found, there can be equally as many where this is a recipe for disaster.


What is one solution to effective management in light of friendships? Tough love. According to an article written for Forbes, “if there’s too much of [love] or too much [tough], the leader becomes an ineffective manager.” A successful manager must find the balance between the two roles within the company. Correctly performed, this balance can create a work environment that is supportive and compassionate while simultaneously generating revenue and meeting deadlines.


Tough love can be the message that allows a manager to show support while maintaining a balance between hierarchies. While many companies claim “everyone is equal” this model is not often sustainable. An all-love approach without boundaries and chains of command can be the perfect mechanism for employee performance to decline. In many cases, effective discipline and rules generate an environment ready for progress.  The tough love attitude can help employees learn the difference between “work” and “play” in the office environment.


In order to create a tough love approach that stimulates a productive work environment, be sure to hold employees accountable for job performance.  If employee work product declines, address this immediately. Do not put off scheduling a performance meeting. The manager needs to include all involved to be able to correct the behavior in the workplace. Follow this meeting up by creating a corrective action plan so employees have clear responsibilities. Enforcing boundaries helps both employees and managers succeed in the workplace. Whether you are an employer or an employee, we are here to help! Do not wait to contact a member of our legal team today.