How do we wanna have hard conversations? Do you wanna know that it's coming? Do you want to, you know, hear it in the moment? Do you wanna think about it a little bit and, and then come back together later? All of these things are critically, critically important to get out on the table while the tensions are low, before stuff goes sideways, so that when it does, you have this foundation laid.
Welcome to the Managing Made Simple podcast, where I bring a decade of experience working in some of the most influential companies in tech to help you navigate the ins and outs of being a people manager from conflicts to feedback to delegating and more, we will leave no stone unturned when it comes to what makes us love managing, kind of hate it and everything in between. Doesn't matter if you're a new manager looking for some tips or a seasoned manager looking up their game. Everyone is welcome to hang out with Managing Made Simple. Let's go, let's go. Welcome back to the show. And today we are gonna talk about how to effectively manage a former friend, and I don't say former because it goes badly and you're not friends anymore. I'm saying former more that this is someone that you were friends with before, either as colleagues or personal friends, and now you're shifting into this role of, you know, supervisor and, and direct report.
And the key here is shift. You are changing the relationship, so it has to be talked about. And this is what we're gonna talk about today, is, is the importance of having a conversation upfront, talking about the fact that the relationship has changed, what that means and how you wanna move forward. Now, when, when we're going about managing a former friend, so let's say you both had, you know, an office or corporate job and you were colleagues and now one of you has become the manager, or you're an entrepreneur considering hiring a friend or potentially a family member for your business. This is a, this is actually a big decision. It's, it's maybe bigger than you realize because you are going to be changing the relationship. And this means the way that you interact, the way you talk about difficult things. This means money's involved and they always say you don't wanna mix friends with money or family with money.
But I believe that you actually can when you have deployed the strategy that I will share today in this conversation. So if you are, let's say start on the entrepreneur side, if you are considering hiring a friend or family member before you even approach talking logistics, it's really important to have a conversation with that person. Talk about what is your management style, how do you work, what are each of your work styles, frankly, how do you wanna have hard conversations? How do you wanna talk about feedback? What are the ways that, you know, that raises and, and promotions and all of that works? The, this is important to talk about because when we're friends or family members, these are things that do not come up often in conversations we maybe have never had to, you know, give difficult feedback to someone or to be what might feel like confrontational or to course correct.
And then when we get in a situation where we have to do that, when someone's working for us, it's really, really awkward because we have no foundation established. Same thing if you're, you're managing someone you were colleagues with, and when he becomes the manager, probably a lot of your dynamic was kind of talking shit about the manager and like sort of laughing about things and now you're the manager that got weird real quick because now what's the dynamic? And it doesn't just work itself out because you feel like, oh, it should be fine, let's just move forward When we ignore the weird, awkward things that might come up and just move forward, those awkward things come roaring back later. Let me share an example. I had a friend named Sarah who was really good friends with a colleague. They got lunch together, got together on the weekends, and they always, they felt like really unified when the boss would say something annoying or asked for something that felt unreasonable and they would always be talking about that and supporting each other.
Then Sarah got promoted and the other person, Kelly, was in the same role, and then Sarah became her manager and both of them thought, Hey, we're good friends, we can get through this. Let's just, you know, pretend that thing's different. And a couple weeks later, Kelly dropped the ball on a, on a pretty big project and Sarah asked her about it and Kelly said, oh, it's no big deal. I'll, I'll, you know, I'll figure it out later. Don't worry about it. And Sarah felt frustrated with this response because it was a big deal, and, and Kelly had dropped the ball and kind of blew it off. And so Sarah felt disrespected and, and confronted Kelly about this and said, Hey Kelly, like it's not okay just to, to not follow through. And Kelly got really offended and said, I can't believe you're talking to me like this.
You don't respect me. They both said, you don't respect me. It was just a total shit show. And the reason it was was because they had no idea how to have a conversation like this that was not part of their relationship. And they had, and, and I think because they had a strong relationship, it was very different before it made it even worse. So instead of having this blow up like that, it's really important when you are going to be managing a, a former friend or colleague to talk about this, saying, Hey, and the first conversation, once the change has been made saying, Hey, this is a little bit awkward, it's going to be different. Let's talk about what this new relationship looks like and communicating, okay, saying, here is my style as a manager, what is your style as a team member? Let's talk about how to give feedback.
What are the ways in which you like to receive recognition and praise? How do we wanna have hard conversations? Do you wanna know that it's coming? Do you want to, you know, hear it in the moment? Do you wanna think about it a little bit and, and then come back together later? All of these things are critically, critically important to get out on the table while the tensions are low, before stuff goes sideways, so that when it does, you have this foundation laid and you are going to thank yourself so much that you had the conversation because stuff is gonna come up in that initial conversation that you never even realized. I think one thing to ask your, you know, the new person you're gonna be managing is, what are some of the things that you're struggling with that I could help you with? What are some of the triggers that you've had from previous managers?
You know, they might share that. I feel like, you know, when I, when it's all negative constructive feedback with no positive, I feel like someone's just picking on me by contrast, they might say, I just want the direct message, I don't want the shit sandwich. Just tell me what it is. And we don't know if we've never had that conversation, and again, because we had a previous relationship with that person, we're probably coming in with a lot of beliefs on what that must be for the other person. Assumptions like, oh, I know them, I know that this will be fine with them, but when work is involved, it's not fine. The stuff that you thought would be totally fine, it's not so fine. And you're gonna find that out the hard way if you don't have that conversation. So biggest, biggest lesson for today is having the conversation upfront.
This is going to be different, this is changing our relationship. How do we wanna talk about the hard things? How do we wanna recognize, you know, in, in appreciate, here is my style as a manager, let's add into the mix work-life balance, working hours, talking about all of these things that should not be taken for granted. Just because you knew someone before doesn't mean you don't follow sort of standard protocols of how to interact with an employee because the person is not going to wanna stay a long time if it feels like you're just sort of like randomly thinking of things for them to do when you have time and you know, you don't have their career growth in mind. So this is really critical also to establish you see them as a professional, you want them to succeed, that you see them as a part of your company or your team and you are rooting for their success.
Have that conversation up front and things will go so much smoother. Thank you again for tuning in and if you'd like support for your team, especially if you are managing managers or exploring shifting your team and to having some people managing former colleagues, please reach out. I have so many more strategies to share around this topic.
That's all I have for today. Thank you so much for tuning in to the Managing Made Simple podcast where my goal is to demystify the job of people management so that together we can make the workplace somewhere everyone can thrive. I always love to hear from you, so please reach out at liagarvin.com or message me on LinkedIn. See you next time.