I expect that you want your employees to like you—not just because you have a natural desire to be liked (which, let’s face it, most of us do), but also because being a likable boss has plenty of workplace benefits. Employees who like their bosses are more loyal to their organizations; they’re more devoted to their assignments; they’re more positive and optimistic in the workplace. Being likable is a worthwhile management trait.
The problem comes when some bosses confuse “being likable” with “being friends.” Of course, there is some overlap. A likable boss would ask employees friendly questions like “How was your weekend?” with genuine interest, just like a friend might. A likable boss isn’t afraid to joke around with employees occasionally, just like a friend might. A likable boss would send employees sincere thank-you, congratulatory and sympathy cards depending on the occasion, just like a friend might.
But in other situations, the two roles don’t mix well. If you have a really frustrating day at work, you should be able to vent to your good friends, but not if those friends are your employees. You probably don’t often correct or reprimand your friends, but you might have to correct or reprimand an employee.
Friends see you at your best and your worst, but you never want your employees to see you at your worst. Friendships work better when the two people are peers, and you’re simply not your employees’ peer. If you try to be friends with your employees, sooner or later someone’s feelings are going to be hurt.
For more information on this tricky situation, watch this video:
And check out these articles:
Plus, learn how to navigate your transition from peer to leader with Bud to Boss live online training. You’ll learn actionable advice for communicating, coaching, guiding, motivating and building your new team.