I've been saying for years that leadership can be very lonely. Although this is my first management role in nursing, this isn't the first time that I've been in a leadership role - especially one where I must enforce policies of an organization.
My first taste was when I was senior in college --- I was chosen to be a Resident Advisor in charge of the only co-ed floor in my residence hall. Back then, it was really tough because my residents saw me as someone who was approachable and trustworthy --- enough that they would consider me a friend. While I was flattered, I found it a difficult position to be in because I did not want my residents to think that I was giving anyone special treatment. I wanted them all to know that I would not play favorites.
Forward to my job in business when I was in an operations role. I managed a group of people with whom I was often social outside of work. Again, I experienced the same struggle as I did years before in university, only this time I was able to have the friendships because my friends were adult enough to understand I had a job to do.
Now here I am again, this time in nursing, trying to figure out how to balance my job with who I am as a person. It's a different environment than the business world, but I'm the same outgoing person that I've always been. As a result, many staff members seem to feel they can approach me like a friend. The fact remains, that I am an authority figure that will have to deliver tough messages every now and then.
In my current scenario, is it possible to develop friendships with staff outside of work yet maintain a professional relationship as well?
My manager and I are able to balance this. The main thing that has kept our relationship strong is that we have mutual respect. We both understand that we each have a role to play in the organization. I'm hoping that the staff members who want to socialize with me outside of work will realize this, too.