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Should I be a Manager or a Friend?

Updated: Oct 22, 2020

Story: Kirti, Software Engineer

During the initial days of my career, I always used to think that many of the managers are not actually leaders, who do not understand their juniors, try to show their superiority. This thinking had a profound effect on my managerial style.

As soon as I became a manager, I decided not to be THAT stereotype manager and lead my team altogether in a different way. I always wanted my juniors to see a friend in me, share their joy and frustrations in and out of office. For 2-3 years, I was successful to showcase a leader in me along with maintaining a friendship with them. As the team grew, I realized that I won't be able to maintain the same relationship with everyone, because of many reasons - their preferences and comfort with me, and their personal life, and not to mention, my own time limitations to dedicate time with so many people.

Slowly, people started perceiving the changes in this imbalance with biasedness. Vivek, who was one of my close colleagues, had to face the brunt of biasedness. After facing a lot of heat, I decided to maintain some distance for everyone's betterment. Further, his marriage led to a change in preferences. Slowly, I started roaming around with other team members, one of them being Kranthi Kumar. To my surprise, Vivek started making the same allegations that I am biased towards Kranthi Kumar. Whatever the attitude I showed for Vivek in his previous days (even though they were motivating for him at that time) were the factors for him to judge me to be biased for Kranthi Kumar.

What do you think I should do? Overall, being a senior, should I avoid going out with all juniors, considering the limitations? or should I be myself?

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