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Vancouver, BC, Canada

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  • Richard Chan

When your best friend becomes your boss


Imagine a best friend whom you went to the same schools and university with who now works with you in the same company. You had shared everything and talked about everything since you were 8.

You were working together in the same company in the same position then one day she got promoted and became your manager.

She started telling you what to do, she stopped talking to you about some management stuff that she was not allowed to share with you. She became very busy and spent less time with you. She became more distant as she got mad at you for not listening to her.

She was no longer the person you could joke around with; she was all serious and professional. You hated being bossed around by her because you had been best friends since you were kids. You just could not look at her as an authority figure and respect her as such.

"Who does she think she is to tell me what to do..."

On the other hand, imagine you got a new job in a new company as a junior clerk. You met a great manager. He was fair--when you did something right he gave you the rewards you deserved (praise, employee of the month, raise, promotion...); when you did something wrong, he had a little talk with you and explained to you why it was not acceptable and you had to face the appropriate consequence.

By following his leadership the company was making great profit and you all got a bonus. He was good at motivating you to do your best, and you were inspired by his leadership. When you had an issue at work you talked to him and he addressed and dealt with the problem efficiently and effectively.

After working for him for a while, you were promoted to a senior position. He started to treat you more like a friend and even invited you to his bbq, Christmas party and sometimes you guys would hang out to watch a game after work and talked about personal things. It was not just about work anymore.

He was no longer just your boss but also your friend. Although you are now friends, you deeply respect him because he is also your mentor. When he asks you to do something at work you will do it willingly.

Although you are now good friends, you will never ask "who is he to tell me what to do?"

With our dogs, it is the same way.

If you treat your new dog like a best friend since day 1 you will find it very hard to have the dog suddenly view you as a pack leader. It will be like the first example. It is hard for a dog who has never viewed you with the respect he has for a leader with authority to suddenly accept your role and listen to you willingly.

On the other hand, if you start off the relationship by showing the new dog boundary and structure, by communicating to the dog a fair and clear system of reward and consequence, like the second example, your dog will be motivated to earn that friendship with you with respect.

When your dog has proven himself to be trustworthy and accountable, you can become the dog's best friend. But even as best buddies, there will always be respect and understanding in the dog's mind that you are in the position of authority--that you are his leader.

So, if you want to have a good relationship with your new dog for many years to come, start it the right way.

Be a great manager first before you become the best friend.

#balancedtraining #engagement #training #packstructure