Lucius continued, “Yesterday, the boss got upset because he thought I had not done enough to help to a younger employee. I tried to help the new guy but he ignored my advice.”
To Lucius, the manager was unpredictable because he seemed to turn from “nice guy friend” to “jerk boss.” Author Bruce Tulgan calls this the “Jekyll and Hyde” problem.
The Jekyll and Hyde issue emerges when managers build relationships based on sharing personal matters at work. Eventually, a manager will need to have an awkward conversation about a work problem. Employees are surprised because they see the relationship flipping from boss-friend to corrective-parent.
Managers, Tulgan believes, should save most of their personal talk for after work, social events and other encounters. At work, the boss’s role is to keep people laser-focused on quality, deadlines, customers, safety. This requires constant work talk.
Effective leaders strive to create trust and rapport with employees by mature discussions about what is going well and what needs improving. For most, there would not even be a relationship were no for the work.