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Last Week She Was Your BFF; Now You're Her Boss

You demonstrated leadership skills by taking on new projects, communicating clearly to others, providing thoughtful ideas and finally got the promotion you’ve been waiting for! you’re managing one of your best friends at work. The one you’ve partied with and commiserated with. Can you keep your friendship and be her leader at the same time?

Yes is the answer. But it takes work and it takes specific leadership skills, like communication, compassion, and focus. Here are a few things to do as you navigate your new role:

1. Be clear and open:

Sit down immediately with your friend and have a conversation about your role and discuss expectations around your relationship. Explain that you are now held accountable for the development and performance of your teammates and outline what that looks like. Keep your eye on your overall goals and help all team members do the same.

2. Be objective:

Be sure that feedback, performance reviews and raises are all based on facts and specific behaviors. Your teammates will be watching to make sure that you don’t play favorites with friends. Conversely, don’t treat them negatively for fear of showing favoritism. When you separate personalities from facts, actions and behaviors, it will be easier to lead your team to continued success.

3. Be the developer:

Sit down with all of your teammates, friend included, and show them how you’re going to help them grow. Understand their future goals and aspirations and develop plans to help them get there. Just because you have a new title doesn’t mean you have to be “over” them. Be “next” to them every step of the way to achieve your departmental goals.

I am still friends with people I managed and worked with in my twenties. These were “growing up” times that we all cherish and to this day, we spend time laughing and reminiscing. Enjoy the relationships you make at work and make the effort to strengthen them each day.

If you have a few more minutes, read:

Employees Want Feedback

Help Develop Employees or Lose Them

Harvard Business Review's Navigating the Transition from Friend to Boss

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