Who's the Boss?
I might still be on the fence on this one; I’ve seen it work and I’ve seen it backfire. It can be a tough call. On the one hand, the friendlier the relationships, the more willing both parties are to help the other. Trust is something that is also likely to exist.
I’ve had this situation work out where I trusted my subordinate (whom I’d known before they were my subordinate). There was an unspoken understanding and camaraderie in the wake of my bat-$#@%-crazy manager’s delusional behavior. My subordinate knew that anything “wacky” out of my mouth came from my supervisor.
I’ve also seen this set-up fail. There once was a manager who was friendly with their staff and was promptly discouraged from continuing any friendship with her subordinates. Was it b/s? Probably. Especially since this manager started her employment without any guidance or supervision and thus had no clue what the functions and responsibilities were. So what happened? The employees guided the manager and there ensued an “us versus them” mentality. To say it ended badly is an understatement. This manager (who, btw, is the wind beneath my wings), left. The employees were left behind with their resentment of upper management. It was an ugly situation.
What happened then was your’s truly was forced to step in to lead this unhappy group of riff raff and produce results. Although I totally understood how they felt, I quickly became torn once threatened with termination. So, while I never really agreed with what went on, I was unable to go to bat for the team and they didn’t understand. It was unfortunate; we were all in a bad place. The way the employees saw it, I “switched sides” although that was never farther from the truth. Never.
Would it have been better for me never to have been on their side? Perhaps. Each situation is different and therefore I have no one answer to give. I’ve been on all sides of this issue. Just something to ponder.
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