Strategy Statement:

The interviewer needs to know about your managerial skills and strategies, and also get a sense of your perspective regarding relationships in the workplace.

Sample Response:

There is no disputing the fact that in the workplace we all need to get along as though we are friends. However, by incorporating out-of-the-workplace friendships into a workplace environment, you are complicating the social chemistry of that workplace. We treat friends differently, and feel that the personal connection is somehow violated when that treatment changes in the workplace. In dealing with a dispute between friends, I had to first determine whether this was a workplace- or friendship-related dispute. I realized, in conversation with the friends, that this was a friendship-related dispute that had spilled-over into the workplace environment.

My recommendation was that the issue be resolved outside of the workplace, and then I made it clear that (because of my double (and conflicting) role as both friend and supervisor) that I was not going to be a part of their resolution process. I explained that I trusted the two individuals to be able to identify the confrontational issue and work toward a common resolution.

Although I did not require the extra step, I also mentioned that if they felt like coming to me and sharing how the dispute was solved, I would love to hear about it. I feel that the fact that I trusted these two enough to come up with a solution on their own, and cared enough to share with them my own perspective on the manner in which they had to work toward that solution made a difference for the two friends.

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