Just how much should a manager know about an individual’s personal life?
What if you like to keep your private life private but your boss wants to really get to know you, those you live with and what you do when you’re not at work?
Phil Neville the England football manager is adopting a very different relationship with his players. He wants to really get to know them, not just their skills and strengths as players but as individuals, he keeps in contact between internationals by regularly ringing members of the squad. He is interested in more than just what motivates individuals he wants to know about their life out side the game. He believes this will enable him to get the best out of each individual. But not everyone is comfortable with this level of involvement considering it intrusive.
At the other extreme a manager who says, ” I don’t mix work and home life. I never invite people I work with into my home and I never socialise with colleagues .” This was one of those managers who are not interested in what their staff do outside of work. They believe their staff’s personal life is their own business.
Many managers believes that you need to view those you manage as individuals, not simply workers, and to do that you need to take an interest in what they do when not at work. This is more than simply knowing what football team they support or the name of their partner and the ages of their children.
Most managers find a middle way to be interested but not intrusive. Managers need to be sensitive to the fact that not everyone is comfortable with sharing the details of their private life and if they are not comfortable then it’s counter productive to push it. A manager, even a high profile senior manager, can’t demand this level of personal disclosure and risks a harassment claim if they do.
Blair Mcpherson former director, author and blogger www.blairmcpherson.co.uk