How Do I Draw the Friendship Line at Work?

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Dear Cubicle Coach: I've just been bumped up to management, and I'm the same age as many of those I'll be supervising. I was advised by my boss to "be friendly" with my reports, but don't be their friend. Where do I draw the line?

Dear Friendly: A popular CC query, and a tough one. We're going to pray that two weeks before your promotion, this same crowd didn't see you pulling a Coyote Ugly at the local Chili's. It's always better to start off more formally and loosen up later. Reestablishing control after trying to be buddy-buddy? Cannot be done. Same-age reports are often more difficult than older ones, who may be resigned to their mid-level status, while peers tend to think, Hey, why her and not me? Being friendly with reports means being respectful of their needs, desires, and abilities. Being friends with reports means hanging out after work, sharing confidences, letting your hair down. Do that, and you won't be their boss for long.

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