Treading a fine balance between having a friendly relationship with your boss/manager and also maintaining a professional distance can sometimes be tricky, especially if your boss carries a candid demeanor, expresses interest in honest one-to-one conversations and likes to joke around.
However, it is always important to remember that no matter how friendly you might be with your manager/boss, there is always an invisible line that needs to be respected and not to be crossed.
It is not recommended to have back-slapping terms with your boss; this can make things chaotic as professional and personal equations overlap. Determining where this line shall be drawn is important for employees. The more mature employees are able to identify it sooner.
Here are five things you must be mindful of in your relationship with your boss:
Keep your personal life to yourself:
Sharing too many details about your personal life with your boss is not a very good idea, even if the latter is very warm and welcoming. There are certain facets of each individual’s personal life that should be guarded and respected.
While it might seem harmless initially, it might lead to uncomfortable situations later. Sometimes, your boss may become too intrusive or may go ahead and discuss your affairs with another colleague with whom he/she shares a good rapport. You might not like it, and may find it difficult to complain since whatever said and done, he/she is your boss.
Don’t share all feedback:
While sharing feedback with your manager on the daily dealings at workplace is a good practice and many managers welcome it, you have to be careful in what you share and what you refrain from. Do not take your boss at face value.
Be a good judge of the situation. There might be certain things the manager would not like to hear even if he/she insists they are open to criticism. There is no point sharing those aspects that might make them uncomfortable.
Never be too direct:
Bosses are also human and not all of them may appreciate too much candor. Dressing your words in diplomacy is the key. One should always wordsmith their feedback, and never be too blunt. You do not tell your boss bluntly that he has been unfair to a colleague or has shown favoritism towards another. You express this, if you have to, as a matter of perception among the people.
Never open all your cards:
You might be ambitious and eager to prove your worth or may be looking at long-term career goals and need mentoring, but it is not advisable to open yourself up completely to your boss. Sometimes even you do not know what you want. Sharing too much of your aspiration can go against you should you change your mind. Be careful, assess the direction of your career and open up one bit at a time.
Respect integrity of your relationships with other colleagues:
There are things that your colleagues or juniors might tell you in confidence. Integrity of such relationships and such conversations should be respected. You do not need to repeat everything verbatim to your boss, even if you are his/her close confidante. This is more of an ethical aspect that a professional one.