47 Percent of Women Think Their Bosses are Their Friends. That Number Should Be Closer to Zero.

by Evil HR Lady on February 5, 2019

Does your boss have your back? 50 percent of men think so, but only 39 percent of women do, according to a recent survey done by RingCentral Glip. If you’re a boss, these numbers should concern you, as you should have the backs of all your employees. You give your employees credit for all departmental successes and take the flack for departmental failures and handle feedback one on one. That’s what good managers do.

But, having your back doesn’t mean being your friend. This same survey showed 56 percent of men and 47 percent of women feel like their boss is their friend, and 28 percent of men and 21 percent of women consider the CEO a friend.

Those numbers should be closer to zero. 

To keep reading, click here: 47 Percent of Women Think Their Bosses are Their Friends. That Number Should Be Closer to Zero.

{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

Mr Got-Your-Back February 5, 2019 at 3:31 pm

“Does your boss have your back?” In the sense that he’d stab me there? Yeah, I’ve had a few of those. A clear sign it’s time to ‘exit stage right’ ASAP.

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suffocating February 5, 2019 at 3:44 pm

My boss does not, despite known medical issues created in part due to large amounts of second-hand smoke in office, this person continues to smoke in the office…Can’t go to HR because it’s nothing but the female version of a boys club. I’m in the process of exiting stage right ASAP hopefully soon, for my health and sanity

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Mr Got-Your-Back February 5, 2019 at 8:30 pm

I’m not particularly litigious, but that sounds like such a clear violation of law, I’d be tempted to sue just to force the issue. While still exiting stage right…

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Bryce February 5, 2019 at 3:46 pm

Bosses should develop relationships of trust with their employees, as should employees with each other. Some do this strictly along professional lines, others do it by being more personal. It should always be clear that the boss will look out for the interests of the company first and friends second. The point is that there needs to be a relationship of some kind so that good news and bad news regarding the work are shared both directions without concern that it is personal (and if it is personal, that it comes from desiring the subject’s success, not personal convenience or appearance or what have you).

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Elizabeth West February 5, 2019 at 4:13 pm

I’m Facebook friends with my last two supervisors, but all of us have left those jobs. I never connect on social media with people at work until one or both of us no longer work there. Nor do I usually hang out with them after hours. Mostly, it’s because our job is the only thing we have in common. It’s not enough to sustain a friendship once people move on.

That doesn’t mean I don’t LIKE them. I just prefer to look outside my workplace for personal relationships.

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Robin Long-Jordan February 5, 2019 at 4:44 pm

Is anyone else additionally bothered that 39% of women think that their bosses have their back and 47% of women feel like their boss is their friend? Best case scenario, this means that 8% of women think their boss/friend doesn’t have their back? That seems to indicate either a vocabulary issue with the use of the word “friend” or an acceptance of some pretty terrible relationships. (Facebook hasn’t helped anyone by labeling all the connections “friends”.) We are a culture with a loose understanding of boundaries and this survey seems to be evidence of that trend.

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Becky Mcintyre February 5, 2019 at 4:51 pm

Friends? Sort of. Two of my 5 bosses in 40 years were more than bosses: they were mentors and I still hold them in high esteem. My current boss is not a friend but he is a good leader and CEO. I don’t expect to be chummy with my boss or most colleagues, certainly not as HR professional.

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MariaRose February 5, 2019 at 6:02 pm

There are reasons why there are those special agreement forms that are given employees in their hiring package concerning any relationships with any co-workers, including supervisors/managers. Having a personal relationship ( friendship) will cloud perception of performance needed for the job needs. Because jobs today cut into what used to be social time for meeting new people, certain kind of friends are developed for creating a compatible work team. But there’s a big difference between a person who works with you and a friend.

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Tim C. February 5, 2019 at 10:08 pm

I really get this concept. I agree 100% with Suzanne. Unfortunately where I work does not. There is a push to increase employee engagement where HR sends out surveys that ask “I have a best friend at work”. If I answer this “no”, then investigations are conducted and involuntary mandatory after-work social events are scheduled by department management. Perhaps managers are graded on the answers. Anyway I find it is just easier to answer “Yes! I have a best friend at work” even though I find the concept ridiculous.

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Goober February 6, 2019 at 1:39 am

The people you work for are crazy.

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Mr Immensely Friendly February 6, 2019 at 2:57 pm

“I’m my own best friend” — so, sure, of course. Now, go away, Orwell.

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grannybunny February 6, 2019 at 3:01 pm

I have a serious problem with the “best friend at work” question too. They use it at the Postal Service too. It stems from a Gallup poll that found that was one of the 12 factors indicating employee engagement at what Gallup deemed to be some of the most successful companies. My problem with that conclusion is that among the companies deemed “most successful” were Google, Amazon, Apple, etc., all of whom are notorious for ridiculously overworking their employees until they burn out in 2-3 years. Someone working 80 hour weeks HAS to have recreational facilities and best friends at work, because they have zero work-life balance; that is, no life outside of work. Those of us lucky enough to have a more healthy work-life balance frequently have best friends outside of work. When I questioned this question, I was told that it was only asking if — among my coworkers — there was one that I liked best. Obviously, that’s not at all what the question — literally — asks, and I’m still conflicted every time I’m asked to complete the annual employee survey.

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Mr Got-Your-Backstory Now February 8, 2019 at 7:20 pm

Thanks for the backstory on this “loaded question”!!

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BethRA February 5, 2019 at 10:26 pm

I have to say I am baffled by the gap between “is my friend” and “has my back” – because to me, “having my back” is one of the requirements for being a friend.

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Goober February 6, 2019 at 1:43 am

I think this is a different context. A manager who has your back won’t let outsiders, even within the company, treat you poorly. If you’re in retail, for instance, a manager who has your back (and isn’t completely spineless) will not give in to a customer’s insane demand just because they made a scene when you followed company policy. A manager in an office who has your back won’t let your coworker treat you abusively because said coworker is a favorite of another manager (or even a higher up). None of that is being a friend, it’s just competent management.

Having your back is a required component of being a friend, but being a friend isn’t a required component of having your back.

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