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Ask Joe

“As a manager, can I be friends with my salespeople?”
Being friendly is different than being friends, and this is one of the toughest decisions you face. It helps to answer these questions: Were you hired to run the business as efficiently as possible, or build a group of people you love hanging out with? Why does it matter? Because 95% of the time, you won’t be able to do both.
In a perfect world, you and your friends would all band together and create the greatest selling force in the country. You’d work together perfectly, they’d do their jobs because you’re all friends and … and … and STOP. Wake up – it doesn’t work that way in real life.
You’re in charge of generating millions in sales for your dealership and friendships with subordinates will always affect your performance. The pressure of your friendships could mean friends get more chances, friends aren’t counseled the same, and no matter how good your friends really are in sales, the perception from too many other people on staff is that your friends always get ‘special treatment’ which causes dissension.
It’s tough enough managing people and getting everyone to do their job. Friendships make it tougher on everyone. If you’re going to be friends, promise your dealer, and make sure everyone else believes that you’ll fire them this afternoon if they can’t or won’t do their job.