It’s natural to want to be liked. Hey, I want to liked. :) That said, when it comes to managing my community, I’m not here just to be liked, I’m here to make sure that the community is running smoothly. Don’t get me wrong – I treat everyone kindly and with respect and I expect that in return. And, if you aren’t disrupting my community and you aren’t treating us disrespectfully, we won’t have any issues.

But, the moment you do, then we have something to address. I run my communities in a way that encourages people to hate me, if they are going to hate everyone. I try to shield and insulate my staff members from that sort of criticism by always taking responsibility for the decisions made. And that’s the truth, really, as my staff is, nearly always, doing what they believe I have asked them to do. So, I always deflect criticism onto myself.

At the same time, staff members need to understand that they aren’t here to be any body’s friend – they are here to assist me in the management of the community, to make sure that things run smoothly and to continue to contribute to the community, as they always have. And I try to stress this to them in our staff member documentation and in my own words and attitude. I try to set the example.

I’ve had staff members that could not grasp this. I’ve had staff members that were gun shy due to not wanting to hurt any one’s feelings. I’ve had staff members who went behind my back to members to try to get between me and them to prevent me from noticing their violations. These people get weeded out, they get kicked off, they resign… eventually, they leave, as they don’t have what it takes right now. That doesn’t mean they are bad people – not everyone can be a staff member on a community, like not everyone can be a manager at a restaurant or a shoe store or a cab company (Louie De Palma had what it takes! ;)) or whatever organization.

By spending time doing your due diligence before you invite someone onto your team, you can limit these occurrences, but it’ll always happen. You want staff members who understand that they will be put in a position where not everyone is going to like them and where they can’t be every one’s buddy.