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. 

Why You Shouldn't Be Friends with Your Boss

Bosses can be great, friendly, wonderful people who have your back. And that's a great thing. But what is a friend?

A friend is someone with whom we share personal information. Americans often use the word friend to describe anyone with whom we are friendly. Friendly is great. Asking someone how their weekend went is a great thing for bosses and coworkers. Sharing details about troubled marriages, spending time outside the office together, and being the person who you rely on for help in your personal life is not appropriate.

Why? 

Because it puts you and your boss in an awkward situation. If you are best friends with your boss, any promotion, praise, or good project that you get will always be seen as suspect by your coworkers. You only got that because you're friends.

My inbox is full of emails from people who are being treated unfairly because the boss prefers her friends over everyone else.

Bosses need to be fair, just like HR does, and friendships ruin that. We all understand that romantic relationships in the office can cause problems, but friendships have similar risks. Is the boss overlooking bad behavior of one of his friends? Is an employee, who isn't part of the in-group, going to feel comfortable reporting a problem with the boss's best friend? Of course not. 

It's important that professional relationships remain professional. Look for your friends among your peers or outside the office. But, if you're the boss, make sure you have all your employees' backs--not just your favored few. 

Published on: Feb 5, 2019
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