All human beings have a very basic desire/ a need to be liked and to be popular.  Whether we are an employee/cleaner/receptionist/manager/consultant or just plain human being, we want to be liked – that is unless we are a narcissist and are not aware of it.

As a people manager this basic need often leads us to inadvertently say and do things with our staff which are not appropriate.

There are some things we need to be very clear about.  Being a boss/manager or leader gives us distinctive extra responsibilities which cannot be delegated and cannot be overlooked.

We must be role models to our employees.

We must behave professionally and we must keep that line drawn at all times.

There is no way out of this obligation. It cannot be overlooked or delegated.   It cannot be over emphasised. We are the ones who are responsible; we need to wear this mantle with pride and we need to wear it consistently.

While friendship is nice, and being liked feels good; (usually for a short time), we may need to take action at a later time in the employment relationship which a friend would find difficult to do and would also find difficult to accept.

What is the difference between boss and best friend?

A boss needs to provide clarity, trust, leadership all aligned to the needs of the organisation. A friend may not have this clarity, may not inspire trust or be a leader and does not have this responsibility.

A boss cannot be best buddy, cannot go to the pub after work, act as a great friend does and then be an effective boss the next or the same day.  A friend can and does go to social occasions with you.

A boss cannot be seen drinking or cannot be seen being under the influence of alcohol and behaving badly. A friend can do both these things because an employee can call an end to the friendship relationship whenever they like. An employee may not feel like they can call an end to their relationship with their boss.

A boss needs to maintain decorum and professionalism at all times. A friend can show their human traits and be silly sometimes.

A boss is expected to be the role model at all times. A friend can be just who they are because they are usually accepted as they are.

The Golden Rule for being a boss is –

“Don’t do anything with your employees that you would not be seen doing with your best client/customer,   EVER/EVER…..”

“Don’t do anything in front of your employees which you wouldn’t like to see as headlines in the morning paper.”


If you need help to make 2016 a year which will give you the outcomes you are looking for in your workplace or you need more clarity about being Boss or Best Friend…..

Contact Practical People Solutions now on 1300 477 792 or phone Clara on 0411 309 308