You Don’t Have to Be Friends With Your Colleagues or the Manager

But if you are friends with your manager, don’t brag about it, neither abuse this friendship, not even on Facebook.

It has been proved that the majority of managers and supervisors claiming “we are like a family”, either have a wrong perception or miss some reality check.


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As a manager, you needn’t have to be “cool”, “homey” or likable.

You just have to make sure that everything you and your team need to do, it’s done in time and at least according to required standards, if not better. Period.

You have to be trustworthy and respected. Well, a boss doesn’t have to be ill-natured, defiant, constipated, always angry (I meant busy, of course), or arrogant (which is not that hard 🙂 ).

If an employee doesn’t meet the job duties and you are friends, there is a big possibility “you’ll cut him some slack”. This can affect both of you, but also the team, ending up in a situation where the team feels you have favorites. The same perception they will get in case of a promotion, even if it is deserved, as it is clearly a high degree of subjectivism.

Imagine your ask your subordinate a friendly question:

“So, what do you say, can I have the report by 10 tomorrow?”

… and he answers in the same manner

“Are you crazy man?! I am not in the mood for reports, we’ll discuss this over a beer on Sunday.”

Sometimes you will be forced to make unpopular decisions, and when it comes to friends, things will be more difficult, but you’ll always suffer from the rational aspects.

In case your friend has a (very) weak performance, you should act like the fair manager you are, make a call that sometimes leads to closing the collaboration. It’s a lot harder to do this with a friend, even if you start with intermediate training/coaching stages, reducing responsibilities, cutting the bonus or freezing the salary. As a friend, you should accept the other person as she / he is, as a manager you cannot do this, which will lead sooner or later to a deterioration of the friendship.

“Well, pay attention for a second, I really care about our friendship, but I think you should change and develop. Your current performance sucks and we can’t go on like this. Capisci?”

As a manager, first of all you should be honest and correct. Even if it was possible, you can’t get friends with all the employees.

Of course, you have to interact in a pleasant manner with your colleagues, no matter their position, but during working hours the professional relationship should prevail, along with the responsibilities we have. This doesn’t mean friendship.

There are many moments when your friend becomes your confident and breaking the confidence rules when you are a manager, can only bring disadvantages. Vice versa is also applicable, being friends with the boss can lead to you having the reputation of a tale-teller.

Not to mention the “Don’t worry, I will talk to the boss, he / she’s my friend!” aspect.

If the friendship will prevent you from treating everyone the same, your activity as a manager will be affected.

In a friendship, the subordination component is meaningless, friends should always hold the same position, which is never possible in a manager-subordinate relationship.

Yes, there are also exceptions when the friendship goes very well in a work environment, these are very rare cases and may exist when the manager does not favor anyone over the others and the employee is very good.

There is also the interesting case when two colleagues are also good friends and one of them becomes the other’s boss; the phrase “now that you’ve become a boss, you are giving me this bullshit, some time ago we were in the same pot, remember?” will get to be heard often.

During his career, a manager will also make some difficult or questionable decisions, and a lot of mistakes, some quite ugly. Friendships may fall apart easily when you are directly affected by this.

Don’t forget that you both have a job to do and the professional part (the one that grants a salary) should come first, not the personal relationship.

Last, if I am with a friend all day at work, I might not wanna spend holidays in the same manner.

Good luck succeeding, friends!

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