Should Bosses be Friends with Their Employees?

I read an article in forbes.com by  Chaniga Vorasarun, titled Are You Too Nice A Boss?

Okay, it is a bad title, but it brought up some very interesting points about bosses who try to be overly friendly and how that gets in the way when employees are underperforming.

When under-performing employees are not held accountable for poor work–especially if other employees have seen the boss being sociable with that person–it can lead to accusations of favoritism. “Often everyone can see that someone is not performing well, but if that person is protected, it can erode morale across the department,” says Susan Battley, Ph.D., leadership psychologist and author of Coached to Lead.

I agree, and in my opinion, you cannot be good friends with the people who work for you.  I have never seen an example of a great boss being good friends with their employees.  Being genuinely friendly and concerned about the well-being of your employees is very important.  But, I have seen too many ill effects from the bosses who want to hang out regularly with their employees.  Unfortunately those types of bosses won’t agree and won’t see how these relationships impair performance.  They will argue that employees work harder for someone they like.  My counter-argument would be that respect is what makes employees trust a boss and garners loyalty.  It is hard to respect a boss who is perceived as showing favoritism and does not hold employees accountable. 

Come on, don’t be scared – leave me a comment and tell me if you agree or not.

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