Moving from Friend to Boss can be a difficult transition, no matter the field you are in. In some situations, your new title can flip the switch on old relationships. Co-workers who once were close friends, now approach you with a different demeanor. And you have the challenging task of earning the appropriate respect of your peers who you now have to manage.
So how can you ease the transition from friend to boss? Members of the AFWA LEAP Council share their top 5 tips:
- Communication: Communication is the most important aspect. A friend should be supportive of your promotion. However, personal feelings can be hurt. Start an open dialog with your friend about how she feels from her point of view. Open the door to a productive conversation about how your new title may change your working relationship, but not your personal relationship. Just be aware of how you communicate this; your tone, facial expressions and body language can say more than your verbal communications.
- Be consistent and fair: It’s important to make sure that you don’t show favoritism with your friends over the other employees in the same position. Being consistent and fair with each employee can be important to maintain a good working environment with all employees.
- Honesty: If you want to be a leader in your organization, you need to be honest with yourself first and foremost. Listen to all feedback, as you may hear things about your friends that you didn’t were not previously aware of, and you cannot confront, ask, or advise your friend about it. If you are uncomfortable doing that – consider going elsewhere to maintain the friendship.
- Don’t Gossip: It’s important to eliminate gossip and venting sessions with coworkers.
- Understanding: Understand that your friendship may never be the same. You may have gossiped about the bosses before and speculated as to the happenings behind closed doors together, but now – you are the boss and you are behind the closed door, so the nature of your conversations will likely differ. It is possible to drift apart and no longer be as close as you were.
Maintaining friendships after becoming the boss is possible; it only changes the working environment. It’s important not to be discouraged if things don’t work out the way you would like them to. All of these suggestions provide tips to not only make this transition easier, but to also be a good leader. There are great articles out there that also provide additional tips in this area such as. Forbes “8 Tips to Transition From Co-Worker to Manager”