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Can You Really Keep Your Friends When You Become Their Boss?

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They’re supposed to be happy for you but sometimes your former peers can feel a little (or a lot of) resentment at your move up the ranks.
Three Daily Slog readers give honest answers to that sensitive question – can you really keep your friends when you become their boss?

Suzanne, Digital Marketing Director, Tech Start-Up

Yes, in my opinion you can still keep your friends when you become their boss. If they are truly your ‘friends’ there will be a mutual respect there and they will rejoice with you in your new role. In my experience working in the tech sector in Dublin, organisations have a pretty flat structure, so a hierarchical environment is not common. The culture is more casual but at the end of the day you work with your team to achieve your targets.

 

One thing that does change is that you need to go elsewhere to vent – you need to keep up the positivity and the team morale.

 

You can make it work by setting weekly goals and targets together and reviewing every week. Quarterly reviews are important too. If there are any issues or concerns, you can talk through them in these meetings. The relationship obviously changes and the boundaries too but there is no need for friendships to be lost. One thing that does change is that you need to go elsewhere to vent – you need to keep up the positivity and the team morale.

 

Maeve, IT Infrastructure Manager, Global Payments Company

I think you can keep your friends but if I’m honest, your relationship does take a hit.

At the beginning I was worried about still being part of the gang and wanted them to still treat me the same, eagerly trying to prove to them that I had not changed because of my new role. However this changed when I had to start asking them for deliverables and driving their work.

 

They were expecting me to be their leader so I needed to start acting like one.

 

It felt extremely awkward at the beginning but after a while I began to relax into it and put more confidence and conviction behind my requests. They were expecting me to be their leader so I needed to start acting like one.

I think the key part to keeping the friendship going was respect; I never requested anything from them that I wouldn’t do myself in that role. I also believe that because I work in a male dominated environment it actually made the transition easier – I hate to say it but it might have been harder to navigate if it was all girls.

 

Lauren, Senior Finished Artist, Creative Agency. 

I think it depends on how you approach your role. The new role doesn’t need to involve you changing who you are or indeed, how you treat people.

The greatest lesson I ever learned in a managerial position was to appreciate and value my team; the old saying is true, you are really only as good as your team. The happier they are the better the results will be, which is a win win situation.

 

There will always be begrudgers and if someone I call a friend can’t be there for me on any level, well obviously that friendship didn’t run very deep.

 

Yes, your friendship will go through a transition, but if you approach it in the right way, maintaining mutual respect, there shouldn’t be an issue. There will always be begrudgers and if someone I call a friend can’t be there for me on any level, well obviously that friendship didn’t run very deep.

Pushing forward in a career is exhilarating and if you have worked hard and are rewarded with a new role I can’t see why this should warrant losing friendships.

 

What do you think? Let us know in the comment box below.  

 

 

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