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Can you be friends with your boss? The dos and don'ts of office relationships

Australian author and leadership specialist Shelley Flett has outlined exactly what is and isn't acceptable behaviour as an employee.

© Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited   Workplace relationships are a topic to be approached with caution, particularly when it comes to adding your boss and colleagues on social media

By Matilda Rudd, Daily Mail

Workplace relationships can be challenging to navigate, particularly when it comes to manager friendships and adding your boss and colleagues on social media.

But author and leadership specialist Shelley Flett has done the hard work for all Australians and outlined exactly what is and isn't acceptable behaviour as an employee.

Flett has had many friendships with former colleagues but she said it does require 'extra thought' compared to regular relationships. 


Don'ts

If you are on a friendly basis with your boss, excluding them from team social events isn't a good idea.

'If you're getting together with your colleagues outside of work then be prepared to invite your boss, particularly if the event will become known to them, through social media or office conversations later,' Flett said.

And if you're outside of work with your boss and they confide in you, it's best to keep that knowledge to yourself. 

'Like any friendship there will be an assumption of trust and confidence,' she said.

'Whatever your boss shares with you, respect their right to privacy and keep it to yourself - let them be the ones to share it with others.'

Another huge deterrent is taking advantage of the relationship by missing deadlines, not following through on commitments and taking overly long lunch breaks.

© Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited   But author and leadership specialist Shelley Flett (pictured)

This will erode trust over time and deteriorate both the working and personal relationship.

Finally, don't tell your boss how to do their job. While feedback might be appreciated, it needs to be delivered in a particular way. 

'If you have feedback about a particular area of concern them ask their permission to give feedback remembering to keep it specific and objective rather than opinion based and assumptive,' she said.


Dos

In general, taking interest in your boss as though they are a regular person goes a long way in developing the bond.

'Take notice of what your boss does outside of work and become curious about who they are as people and what's important in their life,' she said.

Ask them what sort of success they've achieved throughout their time at the company and communicate regularly about what is working well in the team.

By helping to make their life easier you'll be better equip to offer support before they even ask.  

© Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited   Flett said that there's one more point that is neither a 'do' or a don't' and that's connecting with your boss on social media

Flett said that there's one more point that is neither a 'do' or a 'don't' and that's connecting with your boss on social media.

Some like it and others don't, so it's a matter of bringing up what their preference is before firing off a friend or follow request.

Ultimately, she advises to be open to developing friendships with your boss and remember that they're person and just as 'imperfect as you'.

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Career Magazine: Can you be friends with your boss? The dos and don'ts of office relationships
Can you be friends with your boss? The dos and don'ts of office relationships
Australian author and leadership specialist Shelley Flett has outlined exactly what is and isn't acceptable behaviour as an employee.
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