Is it wise to befriend your subordinates? In an article for CIO Insight, Dennis McCafferty analyzes how not taking your work relationship to the friendship level is beneficial and where this line is drawn.
Keep It Professional
The majority of professionals would consider their manager to be their boss, not a friend. This in all actuality is a great thing, because subordinates feel comfortable approaching their boss about work-related problems since their relationship is not hazy with the complications brought on by personal connections. Seventy-four percent of employees view their relationship with their boss as “excellent” or “good.” A boss needs to aim to have a sort of “middle ground” relationship: being approachable enough for their subordinates to converse easily, but not having the relationship become Facebook official.
In any relationship, communication is key. Eighty percent of employees feel comfortable being honest with their boss and 79 percent believe their boss shares the same sentiment. Despite honesty and positive relationships, 51 percent of employees do not view their boss as a “friend” because they seek to keep the relationship strictly professional. Eighty-two percent of people will socialize with their boss during work hours or work-related events, but only 46 percent of people will hang out with their boss outside of anything work-related. When it comes to social media, a meager 18 percent of people connect with their boss.
One of the most important reasons why navigating this relationship proves tumultuous is because of the adverse consequences. Sixty percent of people believe that a person who is friends with their boss receives special treatment and more advantageous opportunities. Fifty-two percent of people see their colleagues monopolizing on a more flexible schedule because of their positive relationship, and 56 percent say their coworkers receive more personal attention. Traditionally, men view their boss as a friend more frequently than women do (53 percent to 45 percent). Fifty percent of men would socialize with their boss outside of work while only 43 percent of women would.
You can view the full slideshow here: http://www.cioinsight.com/it-management/careers/slideshows/does-your-staff-consider-you-a-boss-or-a-buddy.html