Having a boss who is a friend is wonderful advantage and something that can make you workday extremely pleasant. But having a friend who becomes your boss can be something else altogether.
“While the idea of having that good friend or long-time colleague getting promoted and becoming your boss may sound appealing, there are some areas of concern to address should this happen to you,“ says Tom Elmer, an employee training/development consultant. He has the following suggestions if you find yourself in that position:
1) The moment your friend becomes your supervisor, acknowledge things are going to change— in both your professional and personal relationships. Find time to get together and talk about the new dynamics.
2) Keep your personas separate. To be both friends and colleagues, you’ll have to work to keep the roles defined and separate. When you are away from work together, don’t talk shop; and when you are working together, don’t socialize. Define times together as either work or play.
3) Respect the role. In her new role as your manager, your friend will not be able to share certain information with you. Don’t press for an advantage using friendship as leverage.
4) Understand that your old friend, the new manager, has to evaluate your performance. Don’t expect glowing reports based on your friendship. Prove your worth and make it easy for the new boss to herald you and your achievements.
5) Be respectful. This is your new superior. Even if he acts badly, respect the position. Do not bad-mouth him or share information only you know as a friend. Let his actions speak for him.
6) Finally, if this is a position you wanted and were beat out by your friend, don’t hold it against her or try to undermine her success. Remember, just because you were passed over this time doesn't mean your co-worker who got the promotion will ultimately work out. Be professional and make yourself ready for the next chance.
Your friend will appreciate your support and will also understand that the work vibe has changed. It is to the advantage of you both—and the company—to make it work.