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How close is too close?

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I recently took a test to measure my strengths as a leader.  This test gives you top five strengths and how to use those to improve yourself overall. One of my strengths is as a ‘relater.’ It stated that I am strong at creating relationships with my employees and maintaining those relationships by getting to actually know my staff and relate to them.

At first I thought that was nonsense, but then I sat back and thought about it. I do take the time to get to know each of my employees.  If they want to sit in my office and chit-chat, I don’t discourage it. If they want to stop me in the hall to tell me about their personal life, I will sit down and listen to every word. I never thought about it as a skill, I was just doing what came naturally…..guess that’s why it’s considered a skill.

But how far do I take it? Should I talk about my personal life? Should I get involved in their lives? Should I allow them to be my friends on Facebook?

This is a tough place for a manager. On one hand you want to be a good boss and help them with whatever you can, even dealing with personal issues, but then you don’t want to become too involved and drag yourself into their issues. On one hand you want to let them know you as a person, but you don’t want the staff to become too involved in your life.

It’s a fine line to balance…being there for your staff while keeping them at arm’s length.

I care about my staff. I know when each of them is down or having problems and I try to support them the best I can. And I celebrate their accomplishments with them as well.  Sometimes they tell me more than I want or need to know….sometimes I do, too.

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Rob Cameron

Rob Cameron is currently a staff nurse in a level II trauma center. He has primarily been an ED nurse for most of his career, but he has also been a nurse manager for Surgical Trauma and Telemetry unit. He has worked in Med/Surg, Critical Care, Hospice, Rehab, an extremely busy cardiology clinic and pretty much anywhere he's been needed. Prior to his career in nursing, Rob worked in healthcare finance and management. Rob feels this experience has given him a perspective on nursing that many never see. He loves nursing because of all the options he has within the field. He is currently a grad student working on an MSN in nursing leadership, and teaches clinicals at a local university. Away from work, Rob spends all of his time with his wife and daughter. He enjoys cycling and Crossfit. He is a die hard NASCAR fan. Sundays you can find Rob watching the race with his daughter.
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3 Responses to How close is too close?

  1. Timara Easley

    Hey,yes my name is Timara and im a student here at Job Corps treasure island located in San francisco CA.Im here for the CMA program. and im so glad to have this oppurtunity,being one step closer into becomeing a RA.I enjoy reading others storys on being or becoming a nurse its a thing thats
    lets me know that if you did then i can to.keep up the good work.im Timara twenty years of age and im looking foward into becoming somone like you.
    good luck
    and happy holidays

  2. Laura

    Rob that is a million dollar question. How close is too close. I would say it would be the same as with the nurse-patient relationships. There are boundaries. You are here for the staff as the staff is there for the patient. They are not here for you. However, In my experiences – the staff does need and want to know you are a real person just like them. So it is a balance 75% them and 25% you .

  3. I wouldn’t facebook them because I like to keep my family work life separate unless of course you have a separate account for work. I like to share general info but my mother told me once, the people you work with shouldn’t be your friends and remember you have to face them at work so don’t act in a way that is unprofessional in another setting. It is important to be consistent and I believe your staff look for those ‘holes in your armor’..so don’t let your guard down. You are a role model on and off duty.

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