Should you make friends with your procurement colleagues? – the pros and cons
Whether it’s a shared laugh about a negotiation gone wrong, a shared complaint about a certain stakeholder, or simply a shared love of procurement memes – it can be so rewarding to be friends with your procurement colleagues.
After all, they get you and you get them. They’ve got your back, and they can turn into life-long friends. It’s a match made in heaven, right?
Anyone who has ever made friends at work knows that things can go wrong.
Professional boundaries can get blurred. Gossip can escape, when it really shouldn’t, or worse – a supposed ‘friend’ can throw you under the proverbial bus and your procurement career may never recover.
So, when it all comes down to it, should you make friends with your procurement colleagues?
Here’s a list of the top advantages and disadvantages.
The advantages of making friends with your procurement colleagues:
Procurement, by its nature, is a collaborative profession, so one thing that is critical in every workplace is trust. Without it, it’s almost impossible to achieve anything.
Fortunately, making friends with our procurement colleagues increases our sense of trust in them, and, in turn, our ability to be more productive.
By befriending our procurement colleagues, we’re more likely to understand their personalities, motivations and perspectives, and have a higher level of confidence in their procurement expertise.
If so, having friends at work can make all the difference.
Procurement teams need to communicate often and well, and usually their very success depends on every single person’s ability to do just this.
Fostering a friendship with a procurement colleague can enable you to practise effective communication, and also practise communicating in ways that may be more challenging to you, such as when you’re presenting to more senior people within your organisation .
If one thing’s for sure, it’s that the last few years have been extremely stressful for procurement in terms of the broader supply chain situation. This stress has likely manifested itself within your team, including, but not limited to, a potentially toxic boss, or colleagues that secretly hate you.
To handle this stress, you’re going to want to know that someone’s got your back.
It’s for this very reason that a procurement friend can help you out.
Research shows that having friends at work can greatly impact your mental and physical health, and can serve as an outlet when you experience challenges.
The disadvantages of making friends with your procurement colleagues:
Having a good friend in your procurement team can make all the difference. But it can also, unfortunately, negatively impact you.
There’s nothing better than a laugh here, a vent there, and a fun coffee or wine catch up. But what happens when your procurement friend crosses the line and starts distracting you?
We’ve all been in a situation where a friend begins to complain excessively, which can, in turn, lower our mood and motivation at work, and begin to affect our productivity at the same time.
When you become friends with a procurement colleague, naturally your boundaries come down, and you end up sharing your opinions and, likely, information about your personal life.
However, you have to be careful to ensure that this doesn’t affect your professionalism.
Say, for example, you were taking a good procurement friend out to coffee, and you just had to vent about your latest interaction with the finance team. Who knows whether or not someone from that team might be in earshot?
Even with friends, it’s critical that you talk and behave in the same way that you would with anyone else at your company.
Procurement professionals are naturally hard-working, and there’s already evidence to suggest that many of us are experiencing burnout. That being the case, having procurement colleagues as friends can unfortunately exacerbate this problem.
If you befriend your colleagues and see them outside of work, you’ll likely take the workplace with you. This could very well make the work day, and any work dramas you are experiencing, feel more prominent in your life.
Are your procurement colleagues your friends? Has this helped or hindered your career? Let us know in the comments below.