How do I deal with a complicated friend

Boss as a friend: is that even possible?

Only five percent of Germans are networked with their superiors on social networks and 57 percent would reject a friend request. But even in everyday office life, many employees cannot imagine a friendly relationship with their line manager. But what if a good friend from the office next door suddenly gets promoted? The question arises: Can you even be friends with the boss? Which Problems can bring a friendship with the boss and whether such a friendship has a future ...

A friendship with obstacles

It should be clear from the outset that friendship with a manager is always different from friendship with a colleague at the same hierarchical level. Your friend, who is also your boss, has decision-making power that can have a decisive influence on your professional career. This combination results automatically Problems that can get in the way of your friendship.

  • Bad working atmosphere. If you are the boss's darling, your colleagues will surely notice that too. Such a situation can affect the work atmosphere of the entire department as others feel disadvantaged and you may be excluded from the group.
  • Difficult promotions. Even if you do the best work on your team, how rational do you think your co-workers will be when you receive a promotion from your friend?
  • Complicated warnings. But the opposite case is also fraught with complications. How will your boss behave if you screwed up and he has to admonish you for it? Will the nice side of the friend or the authoritarian side of the boss prevail?

Truly not an ideal starting point for a friendly relationship, but is it still possible to be friends with your own boss?

Can you really be friends with the boss?

The nice colleague with whom you have shared the office for years and who blasphemed about the choleric boss on weekends will be suddenly promoted and suddenly stands one salary and decision-making level above you. At first glance, it is certainly also about envy that you did not get the promotion, but what about when you have overcome the initial shock? Can a friendship between boss and employee work? These six questions can help you decide whether your friendship has a future.

  1. How long have you been friends?

    Have you been friends for a long time and have already experienced a lot together, or is your new manager a nice colleague who recently moved to your department and with whom you got on well? The longer your friendship lasts, the sooner you will be able to face any problems that may arise.

  2. How well do you know yourself?

    Have you talked to your boyfriend about anything and maybe even shared your secrets with him? This of course strengthens the friendship, but can also lead to unpleasant moments in the new situation. Who would want their own boss to know everything about you? Here it is important to weigh up and discuss with your friend how you deal with each other in terms of professional cooperation.

  3. How well can you separate work and private life?

    On Sunday you meet your friend for a beer and less than twelve hours later you should call the same person Mr. Miller again and go and print out a few documents for him? It is not easy for everyone to differentiate between professional and private contact. Be honest with yourself and ask if you can.

  4. What is the atmosphere like in your job?

    In some offices there is a relaxed atmosphere, while others go to the basement to laugh. A relaxed working atmosphere, also between boss and employee, will make it easier for you to keep up the friendship. Don't forget, however, that a certain amount of respect should be given to your boss. Because giving your friend's opinion is probably a lot easier than doing it to your boss.

  5. How will your colleagues react?

    Is there a colleague who keeps nagging and complaining or has there ever been bullying and group formation? If you can anticipate how your colleagues will react to the new situation, you can also assess how you should deal with the situation. Do you feel that your friendship with the boss has left you out?

  6. How are you doing with the friendship?

    In the end, you have to decide for yourself whether you are satisfied with the situation and proximity to the boss. You can also talk to your friend about it so that we can work together to find a solution to the problem. Honesty and openness are particularly important here.

Of course, everyone wants a good relationship with their boss. That makes things easier and helps your career. But this Friendship can also turn into a boomerang - when anger in the friendship strains the professional relationship or, conversely, beef at work affects the friendship. You may have to decide between closeness or more distance, because it is rarely possible to fundamentally separate work and private life.

3 behaviors for colleagues who are suddenly bosses' favorites

  1. Remain discreet. Even if you are currently in the boss's favor, you should keep confidential matters to yourself - especially what you know about colleagues. Otherwise you will quickly mutate from a favorite to a traitor. The reverse also applies: you must never divulge the knowledge of authority that you have acquired because of your closeness. Confidence test!
  2. Remain collegial. So far have you met relaxed with your colleagues in the coffee kitchen, chatted with the assistant in the hallway? Carry on with that. This is where what colleagues observe when they say: He takes off. Be kind, humble and don't brag about contact with the boss. Favorites change faster than colleagues.
  3. Stay connected. Favorites are always in danger of being too sure of their cause. They are only the boss's favorite. And if the boss changes, the court usually changes too. So keep in touch beyond the boss. Find more mentors. Above all: convince with performance.

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[Photo credit: Jacob Lund by Shutterstock.com]
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November 11, 2020Author: Nils Warkentin

Nils Warkentin studied business administration at the Justus Liebig University in Giessen. In the career bible, he is devoted to topics related to studying, starting a career and everyday office life.

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