Is being friendly with your boss a good thing?
Will you face backlash from your peers if you’re perceived as being the boss’s favourite?
How do you know when it’s a good idea to be friends with your boss – and when it’s just too risky? The answer depends on a number of factors.
Here are four questions to ask yourself:
1. Were you friends before you became the subordinate? If a friendship predates a new reporting relationship, you have to make a concerted effort to maintain some degree of role clarity.
Self-awareness –on both sides – will be key.
2. Are you friends because you genuinely get along or did you try to develop a friendship because it might serve you?
A relationship that’s based on you making a power play isn’t likely to be a strong one, and you run a higher risk of it ending in disaster, especially if your boss senses that you’re getting close to advance your own career.
3. Are you willing to talk with your boss about boundaries so that the friendship/boss line doesn’t get blurred?
If the relationship has shifted from being friends-colleagues to being boss-subordinate, have a direct conversation about how to make sure the lines don’t get blurred.
4. Will you face backlash from your peers if you’re perceived as being the boss’s favourite? If your relationship does seem to be causing resentment, discuss this with your boss.
You might say, “I really appreciate you’ve given me some of the softball assignments, but I’m concerned my colleagues might perceive this as favouritism.”
In association with Harvard Business Review
Previously published in The Irish Times.
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