Keeping your distance ~ or when employees want to be your friend.

INNspiring.com | Innkeeper Forum & Innkeeping Resources

Help Support INNspiring.com | Innkeeper Forum & Innkeeping Resources:

The Farmers Daughter

Well-known member
Joined
Jun 15, 2009
Messages
1,018
Reaction score
0
How is the best way to approach this? I need to be both professional and approachable at the same time without being too friendly. Suggestions on how I can brush up on my management skills without seeming abrasive or overly "bossy"?
 

Morticia

Administrator
Staff member
Administrator
Moderator
Joined
May 22, 2008
Messages
17,451
Reaction score
317
I'm just grumpy all the time, it seems to help...
I've found that if I get too chummy I end up being told all sorts of things I don't want to know and I am then expected to 'understand' when employee does not show up for work for days on end.
We do talk to our employees, but it's easier if the conversation starts getting too personal to say, 'I don't think you need to share that with me.' Or to 'hear' the phone ringing somewhere else.
The problem I have found is that for the type of jobs we have, the more friendly we are the less work gets done and the less it gets done right. And the harder it is then to say, 'This isn't done right.' Then there's a lot of 'feelings' getting hurt because- 'I thought you were my friend.'
 

The Farmers Daughter

Well-known member
Joined
Jun 15, 2009
Messages
1,018
Reaction score
0
Exactly! I really don't want to know what is happening in peoples personal life.
That sounds cold, but its really none of my concern if your sisters son has chicken pox. I want you to focus on your job.
 

Joey Camb

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 2, 2010
Messages
4,793
Reaction score
0
It depends on the employee. Our chamber maid has been with us 5 years now and though she isn't super fast she is very thorough and dependable to the extreme. She also lives 5 mins walk away and if we ever need her she will come right away or cover for breakfast if we need as well. The price we pay for this is a friendly ear and her being consididered part of the family. I figure all the pluses outweigh the minuses. (She will sit and share her troubles with my mum who she sees as a second mum being that her mum is in lituania and far away) I would however if we took on another chamber maid try to keep a bit more distance.
 

Emily Spiers

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 1, 2010
Messages
299
Reaction score
0
I think it depends on the employee. I think that some employees work better being part of a team, while some just want to get their assignments, get it done and get out the door. I, personally, am the "team player" employee. I am the biggest fan of my employers. I am the encourager, worker bee, helping hand...whatever you want to call it. But I work better knowing that I matter. And because I know that I matter as a person, I am more eager to help them matter as people and as a business. It's a delicate balance, but I think communication is key. Every four or five months (sometimes sooner) I approach my boss and ask what I can do better. What can I do more efficiently. What can I do to be more of a help. What have I totally screwed up on that I either need to fix or never do again. What does she need from me during THIS season...more or what, less of what.
Being the "employee" that you are talking about, I need to know that what I am doing is worth it. If you are aloof or unapproachable, I'll wonder why I am there. If you are "human" and "real", it'll make me want to help you more.
Just my 2 cents, as I am the "subject" of the topic... ;)
 

The Farmers Daughter

Well-known member
Joined
Jun 15, 2009
Messages
1,018
Reaction score
0
I think it depends on the employee. I think that some employees work better being part of a team, while some just want to get their assignments, get it done and get out the door. I, personally, am the "team player" employee. I am the biggest fan of my employers. I am the encourager, worker bee, helping hand...whatever you want to call it. But I work better knowing that I matter. And because I know that I matter as a person, I am more eager to help them matter as people and as a business. It's a delicate balance, but I think communication is key. Every four or five months (sometimes sooner) I approach my boss and ask what I can do better. What can I do more efficiently. What can I do to be more of a help. What have I totally screwed up on that I either need to fix or never do again. What does she need from me during THIS season...more or what, less of what.
Being the "employee" that you are talking about, I need to know that what I am doing is worth it. If you are aloof or unapproachable, I'll wonder why I am there. If you are "human" and "real", it'll make me want to help you more.
Just my 2 cents, as I am the "subject" of the topic... ;).
Those are all important and valid comments. They problem I deal with on an ongoing basis are the worker bees that are more buzz than work.
 

JBloggs

Moderator
Moderator
Joined
Oct 7, 2008
Messages
17,743
Reaction score
0
FD, stop being nice. I think that is it, you are very nice and personable they know this. (Harder said than done). Your position demands respect, it is not a team they are on with you. Sorry Emily, I disagree with you on this. There is a line that needs to be kept, FD does not need to hear about their personal crisis, she is their employer. They can chat to each other about their lives and ailments, kids, chicken pox etc.
The HR stuff need not apply in a B&B, no sensitivity training required. All the hand holding and kissy kissy treatment, let them do their job and they can get paid. Relationships can be built over years and years and it is an employer/employee relationship, it is not and s/not be the same playing field. (My 2 cents worth as one who is always too nice and never firms up with any employees and always regrets it!)
 

The Farmers Daughter

Well-known member
Joined
Jun 15, 2009
Messages
1,018
Reaction score
0
FD, stop being nice. I think that is it, you are very nice and personable they know this. (Harder said than done). Your position demands respect, it is not a team they are on with you. Sorry Emily, I disagree with you on this. There is a line that needs to be kept, FD does not need to hear about their personal crisis, she is their employer. They can chat to each other about their lives and ailments, kids, chicken pox etc.
The HR stuff need not apply in a B&B, no sensitivity training required. All the hand holding and kissy kissy treatment, let them do their job and they can get paid. Relationships can be built over years and years and it is an employer/employee relationship, it is not and s/not be the same playing field. (My 2 cents worth as one who is always too nice and never firms up with any employees and always regrets it!).
Joey Bloggs said:
FD, stop being nice. I think that is it, you are very nice and personable they know this. (Harder said than done). Your position demands respect, it is not a team they are on with you. Sorry Emily, I disagree with you on this. There is a line that needs to be kept, FD does not need to hear about their personal crisis, she is their employer. They can chat to each other about their lives and ailments, kids, chicken pox etc.
The HR stuff need not apply in a B&B, no sensitivity training required. All the hand holding and kissy kissy treatment, let them do their job and they can get paid. Relationships can be built over years and years and it is an employer/employee relationship, it is not and s/not be the same playing field. (My 2 cents worth as one who is always too nice and never firms up with any employees and always regrets it!)
I am glad to hear this. At one time I gave employees paid lunch and it came back to bite me in the butt. No respect, coming in late etc. I stopped that and it helped.
 

Innkeeper To Go

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 27, 2009
Messages
1,395
Reaction score
0
FD, stop being nice. I think that is it, you are very nice and personable they know this. (Harder said than done). Your position demands respect, it is not a team they are on with you. Sorry Emily, I disagree with you on this. There is a line that needs to be kept, FD does not need to hear about their personal crisis, she is their employer. They can chat to each other about their lives and ailments, kids, chicken pox etc.
The HR stuff need not apply in a B&B, no sensitivity training required. All the hand holding and kissy kissy treatment, let them do their job and they can get paid. Relationships can be built over years and years and it is an employer/employee relationship, it is not and s/not be the same playing field. (My 2 cents worth as one who is always too nice and never firms up with any employees and always regrets it!).
Joey Bloggs said:
FD, stop being nice. I think that is it, you are very nice and personable they know this. (Harder said than done). Your position demands respect, it is not a team they are on with you. Sorry Emily, I disagree with you on this. There is a line that needs to be kept, FD does not need to hear about their personal crisis, she is their employer. They can chat to each other about their lives and ailments, kids, chicken pox etc.
The HR stuff need not apply in a B&B, no sensitivity training required. All the hand holding and kissy kissy treatment, let them do their job and they can get paid. Relationships can be built over years and years and it is an employer/employee relationship, it is not and s/not be the same playing field. (My 2 cents worth as one who is always too nice and never firms up with any employees and always regrets it!)
I am glad to hear this. At one time I gave employees paid lunch and it came back to bite me in the butt. No respect, coming in late etc. I stopped that and it helped.
.
The Farmers Daughter said:
At one time I gave employees paid lunch and it came back to bite me in the butt. No respect, coming in late etc. I stopped that and it helped.
I think that's the key. Stopping things that don't work quickly and setting limits.
Personally, I don't think you can set any firm rule about just how friendly you get with employees. Especially at an inn where the innkeeper's personality is so much a part of the inn's success.
Each situation will be different and some employees will become your friends over the years. Some won't.
The key is to set some boundaries at the beginning, check in from time to time about what's working, and to set limits that work for everyone. You have so little privacy as it is, keeping those employee boundaries in place is, to me, really essential to making it all work.
 

seashanty

Moderator
Staff member
Moderator
Joined
Jun 2, 2008
Messages
5,718
Reaction score
46
i tend to develop family type relationships where i work. whether i'm the 'employee' or the 'employer'. it's a style thing or a personality thing maybe. i hear about peoples' lives and what's happening and i like it that way. i find that whatever is happening in the employee's life is going to impact his/her job performance. i know very few people who leave their personalities, their problems and their joys at home when they come to work.
that being said ... you have to maintain some space. i would listen but not advise. chambermaids with boyfriend troubles abound where i was. yuck! i would give them a couple minutes to vent and then indicate that it was time to get to work. if they were really mad about some argument, i'd tell them to scrub or sweep or do a really physical job they could attack aggressively. i would share but not too much ... because it blurs the line and the employee needs to respect you and follow your directions. i have had very loyal employees if they stayed for any length of time, and wonderful employers who i am still friends with. (not counting the partnership thing that fell apart ... but we did not work together physically and maybe that is what made that one different for me)
i can't work at a place where i'm just my job title.
 

Emily Spiers

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 1, 2010
Messages
299
Reaction score
0
i tend to develop family type relationships where i work. whether i'm the 'employee' or the 'employer'. it's a style thing or a personality thing maybe. i hear about peoples' lives and what's happening and i like it that way. i find that whatever is happening in the employee's life is going to impact his/her job performance. i know very few people who leave their personalities, their problems and their joys at home when they come to work.
that being said ... you have to maintain some space. i would listen but not advise. chambermaids with boyfriend troubles abound where i was. yuck! i would give them a couple minutes to vent and then indicate that it was time to get to work. if they were really mad about some argument, i'd tell them to scrub or sweep or do a really physical job they could attack aggressively. i would share but not too much ... because it blurs the line and the employee needs to respect you and follow your directions. i have had very loyal employees if they stayed for any length of time, and wonderful employers who i am still friends with. (not counting the partnership thing that fell apart ... but we did not work together physically and maybe that is what made that one different for me)
i can't work at a place where i'm just my job title..
seashanty said:
i tend to develop family type relationships where i work. whether i'm the 'employee' or the 'employer'. it's a style thing or a personality thing maybe. i hear about peoples' lives and what's happening and i like it that way. i find that whatever is happening in the employee's life is going to impact his/her job performance. i know very few people who leave their personalities, their problems and their joys at home when they come to work.
Thank you for putting into words what I was trying to say. :)
seashanty said:
i can't work at a place where i'm just my job title.
Me, either
 

Morticia

Administrator
Staff member
Administrator
Moderator
Joined
May 22, 2008
Messages
17,451
Reaction score
317
Exactly! I really don't want to know what is happening in peoples personal life.
That sounds cold, but its really none of my concern if your sisters son has chicken pox. I want you to focus on your job..
The Farmers Daughter said:
Exactly! I really don't want to know what is happening in peoples personal life.
That sounds cold, but its really none of my concern if your sisters son has chicken pox. I want you to focus on your job.
Keep deflecting...'So sorry to hear that. Where are you on getting this room done? Is it ready for guests? No? I'll clear out of your way then.'
 

Morticia

Administrator
Staff member
Administrator
Moderator
Joined
May 22, 2008
Messages
17,451
Reaction score
317
I think it depends on the employee. I think that some employees work better being part of a team, while some just want to get their assignments, get it done and get out the door. I, personally, am the "team player" employee. I am the biggest fan of my employers. I am the encourager, worker bee, helping hand...whatever you want to call it. But I work better knowing that I matter. And because I know that I matter as a person, I am more eager to help them matter as people and as a business. It's a delicate balance, but I think communication is key. Every four or five months (sometimes sooner) I approach my boss and ask what I can do better. What can I do more efficiently. What can I do to be more of a help. What have I totally screwed up on that I either need to fix or never do again. What does she need from me during THIS season...more or what, less of what.
Being the "employee" that you are talking about, I need to know that what I am doing is worth it. If you are aloof or unapproachable, I'll wonder why I am there. If you are "human" and "real", it'll make me want to help you more.
Just my 2 cents, as I am the "subject" of the topic... ;).
I don't think that's FD's problem. I think she's running into what we run into...the employee who wants to chat instead of work. Who wants to share all their problems instead of work. Who wants to sit down and have a good natter instead of work.
We walk a fine line here. We greet the employee everyday, share her successes with her (TA review that says the place was spotless, as an example), give her all the tips no matter who does the work, have a little (little) chat everyday about life in general and we always say thank you at the end of the day.
But, I don't want to be anyone's best friend. I know Gomez gets sucked into the drama sometimes, especially if it involves a car or a bf or, heaven forbid, talk about dropping out of college. He's the friendly one (just like in the real Addams family!)
 

gillumhouse

Moderator
Staff member
Moderator
Supporting Member
Joined
May 22, 2008
Messages
15,632
Reaction score
258
This reminds me of the "in" phrase when my kids were growing up - You need to be your child's friend.
My kids were told - You have lots of friends, WE are your parents.
You can be friendly without being Friends. Yes, let the employees know they are important to the operation of the inn (because they are - without good housekeepers you are in deep doo-doo) but that they have their duties and you have yours. The thing that made the best boss I ever had was something that cost the company nothing - he thanked me for anything I did above my regular duties and often thanked me for doing a good job with that. If I stayed over to get the work done because some glitch had put me behind, he thanked me. The pat on the head, atta-boy thank you will go a long way to keeping employees happy - they want to feel appreciated (I think) more than friends.
 

gillumhouse

Moderator
Staff member
Moderator
Supporting Member
Joined
May 22, 2008
Messages
15,632
Reaction score
258
I agree with you - it needs to be this is what you need to get done nd i have my work to do so let's get to it. I still think a thank you for doing a good job is in order when appropriate.
 

seashanty

Moderator
Staff member
Moderator
Joined
Jun 2, 2008
Messages
5,718
Reaction score
46
in that case, i will repeat with details.
if you have an employee who wants to chat and confide every day, you have a needy employee. or is it only once in a while and you are aggravated by it? does your needy employee get the job done? is she worth keeping? can she be re-trained? then i would plan on three to five minutes, no more, at the start of the employee's work day, to talk ... to listen ... to focus on her ... and then ... as employer, you must firmly say 'time to get the rooms flipped' or whatever it is that the employee is there to do. and the personal conversation ends. that is what i would do.
is the employee a time waster? in the business office world, this would be the one who stops at every desk to talk, gets coffee, gets water, makes copies, all as opportunities to chat or vent or complain or or gossip or whatever. this has to be controlled and stopped. at a b&b, this is the employee who does more talking than working and who will distract other employees or you. you must take a firm hand here as well by separating employees and being very much a supervisor to be sure that the work is getting done.
i allowed absolutely no personal phone calls that were not emergencies while the employee is working. i assume you have this rule in place. i had one employee who did not last more than a few days who wanted to call her boyfriend during her short shift ... whose boyfriend came by to see her while she was working (i sent him away) ... who wanted to talk about last nite or yesterday or tomorrow. she was a time waster. she cried when i let her go during her probationary period, but she was not doing her share of the work ... and that is unfair and demoralizing to other staff. and she knew it.
i am sorry i cannot give more advice than that. each of us has our own style ... and that includes our managerial style. yes, mine is the warm and fuzzy style. i don't think it's incompatible with efficiently running a business and effectively managing staff to be on friendly terms with them, i don't consider it wasting my time to talk before or after work for a little while ... notice i said a little while. but, i'm a talker and might drive you nuts. i don't have a partner and enjoy a little conversation.
if an employee makes you feel like tearing your hair out, then whatever is happening is not working. if an employee thinks you, as boss, are wonderful, but they are not getting the work done, then that is not working. performance evaluations and staff meetings are important ... do you have them?
if i were you, i would seek out blogs and books about managing staff. have you taken any management courses? it can be real challenging.
i now work with volunteers who all want to chat with me. i'm the paid one with a schedule and limited hours, and they are my new challenge.
 

Morticia

Administrator
Staff member
Administrator
Moderator
Joined
May 22, 2008
Messages
17,451
Reaction score
317
in that case, i will repeat with details.
if you have an employee who wants to chat and confide every day, you have a needy employee. or is it only once in a while and you are aggravated by it? does your needy employee get the job done? is she worth keeping? can she be re-trained? then i would plan on three to five minutes, no more, at the start of the employee's work day, to talk ... to listen ... to focus on her ... and then ... as employer, you must firmly say 'time to get the rooms flipped' or whatever it is that the employee is there to do. and the personal conversation ends. that is what i would do.
is the employee a time waster? in the business office world, this would be the one who stops at every desk to talk, gets coffee, gets water, makes copies, all as opportunities to chat or vent or complain or or gossip or whatever. this has to be controlled and stopped. at a b&b, this is the employee who does more talking than working and who will distract other employees or you. you must take a firm hand here as well by separating employees and being very much a supervisor to be sure that the work is getting done.
i allowed absolutely no personal phone calls that were not emergencies while the employee is working. i assume you have this rule in place. i had one employee who did not last more than a few days who wanted to call her boyfriend during her short shift ... whose boyfriend came by to see her while she was working (i sent him away) ... who wanted to talk about last nite or yesterday or tomorrow. she was a time waster. she cried when i let her go during her probationary period, but she was not doing her share of the work ... and that is unfair and demoralizing to other staff. and she knew it.
i am sorry i cannot give more advice than that. each of us has our own style ... and that includes our managerial style. yes, mine is the warm and fuzzy style. i don't think it's incompatible with efficiently running a business and effectively managing staff to be on friendly terms with them, i don't consider it wasting my time to talk before or after work for a little while ... notice i said a little while. but, i'm a talker and might drive you nuts. i don't have a partner and enjoy a little conversation.
if an employee makes you feel like tearing your hair out, then whatever is happening is not working. if an employee thinks you, as boss, are wonderful, but they are not getting the work done, then that is not working. performance evaluations and staff meetings are important ... do you have them?
if i were you, i would seek out blogs and books about managing staff. have you taken any management courses? it can be real challenging.
i now work with volunteers who all want to chat with me. i'm the paid one with a schedule and limited hours, and they are my new challenge..
When we first started we thought we were doing fine with the first 2 housekeepers we hired. We would sit and chat midway thru the day and then get back to work. ALL of us. Once we had the college kids who just wanted to work and get out to enjoy the day, we realized the first 2 snookered us into THINKING they were working hard but we were doing half the work.
I HATE being mgmt. I want to explain a job to someone and then have them do it. Every year at this time I go thru the same stress of having someone in my space all day long. 'What do I do with this? I didn't know I was supposed to do that. Where does this go? I broke something.'
I have a daily cleaning sheet in the summer. Gomez deosn't follow it and he basically lets the employee skip it too because he NEVER tells them to read the sked, he says, 'Go ask Morticia what she wants you to do.' ARRRRGH!
 

JBloggs

Moderator
Moderator
Joined
Oct 7, 2008
Messages
17,743
Reaction score
0
They are being paid to do a job. If they want to waste your valuable time after the job is done, sobeit. Of course, your time is your time.
Listen everyone, I am speaking of the employees FD is asking about NOT being on overly friendly terms with, she didn't just say "an employee in high standing who knocks my socks off and excels in their job performance, who I just don't want to make small talk" Obv it is something she wants to nip in the bud, it is called productivity.
I, as usual, am the opposing voice to some on the forum. I heard her question, read the question again, and remember it is not about you, it is about FD and her staff. She does NOT want to be best friends with her staff, she wants to keep it professional, she was asking how to NOT be best friends with her staff, not HOW TO be best friends and make them all come to her with their personal problems. LOL!
 

JBloggs

Moderator
Moderator
Joined
Oct 7, 2008
Messages
17,743
Reaction score
0
Pay hourly and see how much talking they will do...plenty. Pay by the job and that will get them into gear much faster.
The last thing I want is someone to talk BEFORE they get to work and get the job done, its called wasting time. Like "clocking in" and standing around to talk, it is stealing from the employer to be paid to talk when they have a job to do. We are not discussing an office here, we are talking about an Inn. I know it sounds harsh, but if someone is paid to come and do a job, they are not a full time employee, so the job needs their attention. They can socialize afterward, not chew the ear off the BOSS.
 

seashanty

Moderator
Staff member
Moderator
Joined
Jun 2, 2008
Messages
5,718
Reaction score
46
i am talking about an inn ... and i am comparing that inn to another business i ran and owned some years back.
and to other businesses as well.
employees, whether i pay them from my own pocket or from the company pocket, are the same to me.
i much prefer a few minutes talk before the work day. then ... get to work. it didn't happen every day that there was more than a 'hello'. but it did happen. i dealt with it and then went about my business.
i am finished with this topic because i am not going on the defensive about my management style. it worked for me. obviously we don't agree and we won't agree.
i still say fd should check out some courses in managing employees.
 
Top