7 Tips for when Your Boss is Also Your Friend ...

By Alison

7 Tips for when Your Boss is Also Your Friend ...

Being friends with your boss sounds like it would make for the perfect workplace. But it's usually not that simple, especially if your friend becomes your boss through being promoted above you. It can be difficult separating work and friendship, and you may encounter resentment from co-workers who think that you are treated better. So how can you maintain both your friendship and a harmonious workplace? Here are some tips to help …

Table of contents:

  1. stay professional
  2. keep work & friendship separate
  3. no special treatment
  4. constructive criticism
  5. respect their position
  6. agree how to play it
  7. don't resent them

1 Stay Professional

Always be professional when you work with a friend who is also your boss. Don't allow a slack attitude to creep in or act like you're 'all friends here'. You should maintain a professional attitude at all times, even if there is a friendly atmosphere. Your friend has a position to maintain, and acting too much as their friend could make things difficult for them.

2 Keep Work & Friendship Separate

Do your best to keep work and friendship separate. Keep your private life out of the workplace, unless there is something going on in your life that will affect your work. Once you leave the workplace, don't talk about anything work-related. Your boss may be a friend, but while you're in work they're your boss.

3 No Special Treatment

Never expect to get special treatment just because you're a friend of your boss. It's not fair on your co-workers, who should be treated equally. Nor is it fair on your boss for you to expect to be given a special status. If you do, you'll create resentment among your co-workers, and that could make your working life more uncomfortable.

4 Constructive Criticism

However much it may irritate you to take criticism from your friend, remind yourself that they're in 'boss mode' when they do that. It's part of their job to manage you, and that may sometimes involve hearing uncomfortable truths. If you're not doing as well as you should, isn't it better that you're told so, so that you can improve your performance?

5 Respect Their Position

Always respect that your friend has a position to maintain. While you're at work, they're your boss, not your friend. So if you have any issues with how they're doing their job as your boss, raise it with them calmly and respectfully. Let them be the boss, and don't try to make them feel awkward in any way.

6 Agree How to Play It

If your friend is promoted above you to become your boss, it can be a difficult transition for you both. Discuss with them how you are both going to handle the change in your relationship. Having a discussion about the situation can make it easier for you to deal with any issues that arise.

7 Don't Resent Them

Finally, if your friend started off at the same level as you but was given a promotion, don't resent them for getting ahead of you. For whatever reason, they were considered the best person for the job. If you want promotion, you'll have to earn it - and you shouldn't expect your friend to promote you just because you're friends.

Working with a friend who's your boss can be tricky, especially if they're promoted above you. If you're both professional, you can handle the situation without problems. Do you think that friendship and romance should be kept out of the workplace, or is it the best place to make friends or meet a partner?

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