Any friendship has its challenges, but alliances between employers and employees can lead to complex issues at work and beyond.
The majority of Americans spend more time at the office than they do at home, so it’s understandable that employees want to make their work environment as enjoyable as possible. There are definite advantages to having the boss as an ally. However, despite the benefits, a friendship with your boss comes with its own set of caveats and potential issues that can affect not only your daily work experience, but also your overall career development.
Stress & Drama In The Workplace
Co-workers often have complementary personalities or common interests, and may start going out to lunch or having drinks after work. If this happens between a boss and an employee, however, it can lead to tension in the workplace.
The most effective way to prevent jealousy or discord is to offer open invitations to other employees for these social events. Even if the invitation isn’t accepted, it shows that the boss is not showing favoritism toward the employee, and that the employee isn’t trying to take advantage of the friendship for personal gain.
Business or Pleasure?
Friendships are built on socializing, which is tricky in an office setting. Socializing can quickly get in the way of daily business, impacting productivity and causing trouble for both boss and employee. The key is to find the right balance of working and socializing.
Both parties should remember that there will be situations in which the employee will have to take criticism or redirection from their boss. Not only can this put a strain on the friendship, but it can also create issues in the workplace that threaten the employee’s career development and undermine the employer’s authority.
Avoiding Potential Issues
At the office, work needs to come before friendships. If an employer refrains from delivering negative feedback or delegating tedious assignments to one employee in particular, it sends a message to all other employees that they don’t have to accept tasks or direction. The employee in the friendship needs to understand that constructive criticism, undesirable tasks, and potential disciplinary actions are all natural elements of the workplace, and should not be taken personally when delivered from their employer friend.
While it’s true that being friends with your boss can be tricky, forming bonds makes life at work—and even beyond the office—much more enjoyable. It can be difficult to make friends as an adult, especially when working full-time and juggling home and family obligations. To prevent struggles that could potentially strain your friendship, it’s important to learn how to balance social life and work life, to accept criticism and direction with grace, and to make everyone feel included in the social circle.