WORKPLACE / JUL. 18, 2014
version 3, draft 3

How to be a Boss, Not a Friend

Let’s face it. It’s become trendy to hate your boss.

Or maybe it always has been.

But then... Things suddenly change when we’re the one in their position.

A change in perspective.

Finally, we realize that there’s a reason for their bad reputation.

You can’t be a boss AND a friend simultaneously.

Embrace that truth...

And then learn how to be a boss, not a friend.

I. Find a New Posse

Everyone needs some sort of support group. Whether at home or at work. And now that you’re a boss, you should establish and develop new relationships with those people you used to take orders from. Don’t be intimidated. You’ll have enough common ground to set the stage for some social tango with them.

II. Time To Make a Change

Naturally, relationships change when people are working for you rather than with you. Think back to the old water cooler days when you complained about your boss. The tables have turned now. You’re the boss. So your former colleagues won’t be as open as before since, after all, now you’re public enemy number one in their eyes. Then again, things can still remain friendly between you and your underlings. As long as you don’t let the power of your new position blow up your ego. Remain humble, respectful and build on those relationships further.

III. Manage with Confidence

There’s no shame in telling yourself you earned the position. No one else got it. You did. So don’t second guess your abilities. With that said, you need to try your best to be more than just a boss. Be a leader. A boss simply tells people what to do. A leader works with his people. So be respectful, demonstrate leadership, and the troops will follow you into combat any day. Besides, not everyone wants to be a leader. Some actually prefer being managed as opposed to dealing with the pressures of leadership. Also, don’t be afraid to ask for advice--especially from the more experienced. You may even tickle some egos by doing that.

IV. Fairness Is Golden

It’s likely that back in your underling days (many moons ago) you liked some folks more than others. Not really a big deal... until you’re a boss. That’s when you get accused of favoritism by your former colleagues. That’s why you shouldn’t be overly friendly. Otherwise, you risk people misinterpreting that as favoritism. So keep your objectivity and treat everyone the same across the board. Judge them strictly by performance--personal feelings be damned.

V. Boss It Up First

It’s better to be respect than liked. Cliché, yes. But over time you’ll find that it’s undeniably true. Sometimes you have to make ugly decisions that you’ll be hated for. But that hate won’t necessarily last long. Oftentimes, employees are so caught up in reacting to their bosses decisions, that they never consider the reasoning behind them. Eventually they do. Then they calm the heck down.

Just make sure that you establish yourself as a boss before anything else. You need to command respect before you can try to be anyone’s friend. Otherwise, people will still see you as a drinking buddy rather than their superior. 

That’s all, folks.

Now go out there and lead your company to glory.

Remember... Speak softly and carry a big stick.




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