Preserving Friendships When You Are The Boss

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One of the struggles when you are promoted to being a work leader or a supervisor is the likelihood that you will have to balance being a leader and being a friend.

Q: Can you give us an example?

Where this really can show up is when one of your buddies wants you to give him preferential treatment because he’s your friend, even though it would be unfair to the others.

Q: Is he really a friend if he’s asking for favours from the new boss?

Great question. That’s exactly the question the new leader needs to ask himself or herself. Would my friend make me choose between being a friend and doing my job?

Q: What else should the supervisor be thinking about in this situation?

The leader needs to think through the consequenses if he offers preferred treatment – think about the impact it has on the other workers and the leader’s future ability to deal with situations. The whole productivity might drop if he treats people unfairly. And of course he could lose his job.

Q: Any last tips for the person who might have to lead friends?

Yes, realize that a true friend would let another friend know when they are doing something wrong. If you let a performance situation go without comment, you are setting your friend up for more serious consequences later on. Instead tell tham that as their friend you want to let them know that what they are doing is not right and could get them into trouble. If they complain, they weren’t really a friend after all.

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