Gene Marks on Maintaining the Power Differential

Business expert Gene Marks gives advice on how to avoid sticky situations by keeping a professional distance from your employees.

Video Transcript

You know, relationships with the people that work for you in your company and that, that issue does come up all the time. And when I speak to people, when I write, I, I’ve always been one to say, look, you know, whatever works for you is what works for you. I mean, I can’t judge somebody’s management style if that’s what they’re being themselves and they’re, they’re transparent, and they’re comfortable doing that. So, I have some clients where, you know, the owner of the business is really, really best friends with his or her employees, ah, and that’s great if that’s what’s working for them. But in the end, my view is that your business is really nothing more than – it’s an asset. And you have to have the, you know, the, the, the rights and the, the, the priorities of your shareholders first. And you’re, a lot of times, you might be the only shareholder of the company but it really is all about the company first. And your employees, as close as you are with them, I’ve seen this time and time again. They will, they will let you down, not on purpose, but because a lot of people, you know, people are living their lives. They want to do what they need to do. They have to change jobs, change cities, you know, move ahead. They have kids, they have – they have whatever, um, they’re going to do what they gotta do, and it’s not their business it’s your business. So, it should always be your business first that comes, you know, above your employees, I think. And, and that’s why my business, I mean, I, I do have good relationships with my people. I mean, my people, I’ve got people have worked for me for 10, 12 years now, but I have no social relationships with anybody. I don’t go out to dinner with any. I don’t go drinking with people. I don’t. It’s just, it’s very just a work kind of relationship. We – we email throughout the weekends, but it’s just nothing social. And the reason why is because, um, you know, at, at heart I’m, I’m – I mean, I talk a big game but I’m a softie, so, you know, if, if I get too close I’m just sort of scared of getting too close to an employee and then, you know, I have to like let that person go, or make some kind of a tough decision and, you know, or personal relationships kind of clouds, you know, that, that decision making. I’m really, really sensitive about that. So I’d just rather not have that relationship at all. I would rather just professional only and nothing more than that. Sometimes it’s not easy. I mean, you know, you get invited to people’s things and all of that and you have to just sort of pick and choose what you do. But that’s, that’s just the way that I’ve been.

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