DEALING WITH FRIENDS WHEN YOU BECOME THEIR BOSS
excerpted from “The Basic Steps for Successful Supervision”
by Rose B. Moore, CPC, CCP, CMC, CMIS, CMOM
One of the difficulties of being promoted to a supervisory position in your present department is handling friendships in your new role.
Q: What about my best friend Alice? Should I still go out to lunch with her now that I’m her supervisor?
A: Yes, and take the initiative to ask her. She may be reluctant to approach you, since you’re now her supervisor. You should deal directly with the changed circumstances while at lunch, by telling Alice that you hope your new position doesn’t interfere with your friendship.
There’s a balancing problem that comes into play here. In your supervisory role, you don’t want to alienate anyone by showing signs of favoritism. On the other hand, you don’t want everyone to assume that you’re now a snob because of your new job. So if you abruptly stop going out to lunch with Alice, it will make it even more difficult for people to relate to you in your new role as the supervisor.
Instead, by going to lunch, you send a signal that you’re the same person you always were. In fact, this will probably be reinforced after lunch, since Alice will likely be pumped by others to find out what you said about work. As far as favoritism goes, you always went out to lunch with Alice in the past, so this shouldn’t be a factor – at least initially.
Perhaps later on, when your supervisory role is solidified, you might want to gradually adjust things so as not to create the perception of playing favorites. However, don’t worry needlessly about this type of situation. Remember, you’re now a supervisor – not a role model for America.
Rose B. Moore is a Professional Medical Coding Curriculum (PMCC)-Approved Instructor and Physician Practice Advocate for the Medical Society of Virginia.