Is your boss your Facebook friend?

Building friendships with your co-workers can be one of the many advantages of being part of a great team. Not only does it have the potential to make your working life more enjoyable – and help you excel in your role due to greater support and teamwork – but it can also make you happier. In the workplace, and in life.

The benefits of being friends with your team members

If you’re in a managerial position, being friends with, or connecting with your co-workers, can be a great way to strengthen your working relationships, and give you added insights into your colleagues’ interests outside of work. Stronger professional relationships can make for a tighter-knit and more effective team, which can make your job a whole lot easier.

Being friends with your professional juniors doesn’t mean they’ll have less respect for you and the role you play at work. In fact, breaking the traditional ‘them-versus-us’ culture can earn you more respect, and make it easier for teammates to come to you when they have questions, concerns or issues.

  • Do: use your friendship as a way to enhance communication and trust at the office. Let the insights you gain give you a fuller picture of your team members’ skills, interests and strengths.
  • Don’t: let friendships get in the way of your professional relationship. If you feel someone is taking advantage of your friendship or using it as an excuse to slack off, make it clear that, although you value their friendship, you still expect a high level of professionalism and productivity during work hours.

The benefits of being friends with your boss

The idea of being friends with the boss might horrify some people, but it can actually be a positive move if you have a good working relationship and you’d like to progress up the corporate ladder. Having insight into your boss’ interests can give you more common ground, which can really enhance your professional relationship. You may find you have more to talk about, or that you have a shared interest you can bond over.

The idea of being friends with the boss might horrify some people, but it can actually be a positive move if you have a good working relationship and you’d like to progress up the corporate ladder.

In turn, giving your boss a fuller picture of who you are, and what your interests are outside of work can help enhance their opinion of you. If they see you’re well rounded, that can boost their perception of you. Certainly not a bad thing if you’d like to progress within the company.

  • Do: think of your boss as a person, as opposed to just being the guy or gal in the big swively chair. Remember that they have stressful work challenges, and lend a hand where you can.
  • Don’t: assume your friendship gives you a free pass, and avoid revealing anything too personal that could be seen as roadblocks to your professional development of progression. Avoid posting Facebook updates that could land you in hot water, no matter how great your relationship with your boss is.

Managing friendships if you move up the ladder

If you’re promoted to a more senior or managerial position, negotiating that can be delicate if you’re friends with teammates. If you’re good friends, it’s likely they’ll be happy that your hard work has paid off. However, there may be times you’re selected above your friends to progress, and sometimes this can cause tension and resentment.

Let them know about your promotion in person, before you announce your good news online, and assure them that while you may have a different working relationship from now on, you value their friendship and respect them as a colleague, and would like your work together to be happy and productive.

  • Do: let them know they can come to you with any questions or issues, and that you’re confident your promotion won’t impact your friendship.
  • Don’t: suddenly un-friend them on Facebook, or distance yourself out of fear your friendship could get in the way of your managerial success.

How have you stayed friends with co-workers if you’ve been promoted, or if they’ve been promoted above you? We’d love to hear your thoughts via Facebook or Twitter.