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Q&A: My colleague is now my boss. Is it ethical to continue to be friends?

By Lisa van de Geyn

When your colleague gets promoted to manager, you can protect both your position and your friendship by setting clear expectations for how you’ll interact on the job and off.

So your pal at the office is now your manager — that can definitely be awkward, not to mention the pressure and stress that’s about to be put on your once equal-footing relationship. “There will be demands placed on the new boss and he or she will now have a higher level of deliverables,” says Margaret Page, a business etiquette expert in Vancouver.

“The best way to protect both the valued friendship and the position or career is to sit down and set expectations for how you’ll communicate and interact on the job and off. The greater clarity the two of you establish about how this change will affect others in the department and your personal activities together, the greater chance you will have of thriving in the new dynamics.” Your best bet, Page agrees, is to put your expectations down in writing, so if there’s ever any tension in the relationship, you’ll have a clear course of action. “Support your friend’s success and don’t expect any favours or special treatment. Change isn’t always easy but if you anticipate where the landmines might be, you can protect both the valued friendship and your career.”

This article was originally published in the December 2017 issue of CPA Magazine.