Karren Brady's career advice on balancing workplace friends with responsibility | The Sun

APPRENTICE star and West Ham United vice-chair Karren Brady answers your careers questions and meets an inspirational CEO.

Here she gives a reader advice on how to balance workplace friendships with senior responsibility.

Q) I work in a small sales team and I’ve recently been made manager, which means I’ll have seniority over a group of girls I’ve been on the same level with for years – and we are all close friends out of work, too.

I have no problem with taking on the responsibility of the role, but I’m worried because I know all the tricks they pulled on our previous manager, such as taking sickies because of a hangover, creating fictional appointments for an afternoon off and so on.

I’m determined that the team sees an upturn in results under my leadership, but I also don’t want to lose the friendships I’ve developed. Do you have any advice?

Natalie, via email


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A) The positive thing is that you know these girls well, so you know what motivates them, both professionally and personally.

You also appreciate any frustrations in the team, as you too have experienced them. Make sure they understand your goals and that you set incentives that will inspire them to perform.

Your team need to respect your position as their manager and you need to be honest if you feel one of them is taking advantage of your friendship.

Keep track of any time off they take, so you have a log you can easily refer back to. Explain you are in a difficult situation balancing your new role and your friendships, and as both are important to you, you can’t be aware of unprofessional behaviour without doing something about it.

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Explain that you understand they may need time off for appointments, so you would rather they speak to you and agree it in advance.

If they’re true friends they will show you respect and they will want the team – and you – to succeed.

A Day In The Life Of…

Joanna Silva, 44, is the founder of vegan beauty brand Elan Skincare. She lives in Greenwich, south-east London, with her company director husband Rafael, 39, and children Mila, seven, and Leo, 12.

I wake up at…

7am, to get the kids ready for school, except in the holidays when I get up at 6am to pack in an hour of uninterrupted, focused work. When time is scarce, I organise myself better.

A normal day involves…

I’m always at my desk in my studio at home by 9am. I dedicate one day a week to specific parts of the brand, such as marketing, calls to our regular business customers, connecting with prospective ones, or product development.

Currently, I’m working on a hyaluronic acid serum and smoothing body oil in a gel form, which our customers are testing. At the end of every day, I like to have ticked off one big task.

One day a week, I organise meetings in London with our collaborators, designers, influencers, beauty experts, business advisors and other beauty founders.

With a never-ending to-do list, it’s easy to come up with excuses for not exercising, but I try to swim a few days a week as, once I get active, my endorphins kick in and I’m more productive.

If I don’t have events or meetings to attend, I break at 3.15pm to be with the children after school, then I continue working until 9pm or 10pm. In this job, there’s no nine-to-five!

The best part of my job is…

Bringing new product ideas to life. I’m on a mission to revolutionise natural beauty. The range is designed to care for sensitive skin, but my main goal is to improve women’s overall wellbeing. 

And the hardest…

When I launched the business in September 2017, as a solo founder I did everything myself.

I didn’t have a clue about social media and it’s still a skill I lack, but luckily, with a fantastic team around me, I can focus on my strengths while letting others manage areas of the business I’m less experienced in.

I wind down by…

Having a bath. I apply a face mask and then read. As part of my evening skincare ritual, I apply my Pure Goodness Body Butter and do a facial massage with Whisper or Dream Organic Serum. According to my Fitbit, I’m usually asleep by 11.30pm.

  •  Enter code FABULOUS20 to get 20% off at Elanskincare.co.uk.

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