It is ok to have a friendly relationship with coworkers. Actually, this makes the work day much more enjoyable. However, becoming friends with direct reports is a little trickier. As the boundaries are getting blurrier in corporate America and the workplaces are shifting to a more casual environment, especially young employees are having difficulty in defining their relationships with their superiors. Therefore, everybody has to consider the below points before considering their managers as their friends.
- Friends are equals to each other: Your boss is superior to you. However, your friends are your equals. Even if your boss treats you friendly, this doesn’t mean that s/he is your friend. Remember, you are responsible of reporting him/her and s/he is responsible of evaluating you.
- Friends do not try to change each other: Friends accept each other as is and don’t try to change each other. If your friend tries to change you, then, this is not a real friendship and probably, your friendship won’t last long. On the other hand, your manager can try to change your behaviors or work habits, if s/he thinks your performance is not enough. It is your superior’s job to give you feedback and push you to change yourself for the better.
- Friends are there to support you: Your true friends are supportive to you no matter what; your boss doesn’t need to be supportive. You can talk with your friends about the things that bother you or problems in the office or sometimes make gossip. Clearly, it is not a good idea to gossip with your boss especially about work related things. S/he also doesn’t need to know about your personal problems, even if s/he has good intentions.
- Friends do not require a progress report: A true friendship doesn’t have expectations. Nonetheless, in the office, a boss has expectations from his/her employees. S/he checks on your progress to make sure you complete your given tasks. Therefore, this is not a mutual but a one-sided relationship because you are expected to fulfill certain things.
- Friends are not supposed to be role models: Managers should be good leaders and role models. They are supposed to set examples in the workplace so others can follow them. However, friends are not supposed to do this. They can behave pointless and let their guards down when they are spending time with you. Managers never do this.