Have you ever worked for an overly-friendly boss? As much as we like having friends at work, a manager who wants to be your friend comes across as trying too hard to be liked instead of respected.

Looking back over my career, I shrink when I think of some of the mistakes I made. Luckily, they were without serious consequences. But they sure packed a punch as far as learning goes. Ouch.

It turns out that many of the people I coach have experienced the same transitional hiccups when promoted to upper management.

As a colleague, I cherished my relationships and friends I worked with. The day came when I was put in charge, however, and I tried to keep friendships strong. I soon learned that, as the boss, I had tough decisions to make that would cause disruptions to my relationships.

Even without prior relationships, however, I’ve seen some bosses who try to gain respect over those they lead by becoming their friend. This almost never works, although I have seen a different type of friendship develop.

If you want to be liked, you must first be respected. Employees want a manager, not another friend. Remember what the role of a manager is.

Respect is earned through actions. A manager understands his or her role and accepts full responsibility for their actions because they are as unbiased and fair as possible. They hold the values and mission of the organization above their own personal relationships.

That’s one of the hardest parts of learning to be a good boss. You learn to give negative feedback in positive ways. Sometimes people get passed over. But people should never be under-appreciated for their contributions.

What’s been your hardest part in learning to be a good boss? How do you handle the need to be liked when you also need to manage people? Leave me a comment, I’d love to hear from you.