Does A Promotion Mean You Can’t Be Friends Anymore?

April 29th, 2012

You go to work knowing that the job is tiring, boring and that your boss just is not likely to be in a good mood. What makes it better? Having friends at the office that you do not mind working with and that help to break the stress and monotony you are facing daily.

Then comes the day when the people in your fantasy league are no longer your friends, but your employees. Getting a promotion at work is worthwhile in furthering your career. Can you really keep your friends if they are now working under you?

You’ll Make It Work

Be honest here. There is no way you can know what is going on with your “friends” and be their boss too. No matter how much you think you can make it work, chances are good you will be unable to do so.


The first time you need to give them a review or you need to tell them they are not doing their job right, you will be faced with a look of betrayal and jealousy. There could be another situation, in which you need to choose one over the other for a task. That may make some feel like you are playing favorites. Making it work is going to be hard work.

What Can You Do?

Once you become the manager, it is up to you to play the role properly. That means you may need to redefine the type of relationship you have with those who were your friends. You can do several things to keep things on the upswing.

  • Be fair. Everyone wants to know they are important. Take the time to talk to each person to tell him or her what they can and cannot expect from you.
  • Keep your mouth shut when people come to you with concerns or needs. If you know things about them from your friendship, be sure they understand you will keep that confidence.
  • Make sure you stop habits related to hanging out after work with the employees. For example, if you used to hang out at the bar for drinks, you may need to break that cycle. You cannot properly manage those you are out drinking with.
  • Do keep things friendly between everyone. Do not come down hard or create a wall between you and friends. The key here is to not only keep the lines of communication open, but redefine what they mean to you. Be sure everyone knows that they can still talk to you about their concerns and needs.
  • Sometimes, you just cannot do it on your own and learning is a process. If you are in a new position, find someone to guide you through the transition. Finding a mentor can be one of the best things you do for yourself and your ability to succeed in this position.

When you go through a promotion, your friendships must be redefined into something that is appropriate for the workplace. It is a good idea to discuss your needs with your superior if things become too hard to manage on your own.

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