Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Can You Be Friends With Your Boss?

This question is a broader version of the one that Metapsychologist asked in the comments section to my post from yesterday. He was more interested in the question, can faculty socialize with the Provost, Dean, or even President? I absolutely adored our last Provost and would have jumped at the chance to have him over (I never throw parties anymore because I have a tiny house). But, perhaps this is unusual? It is interesting to rethink the question, can you you be friends with your students in terms of another power imbalance, can you be friends with your boss. Now, for faculty who have tenure, the power dynamics shift a bit. But before that, the Provost is, basically, your boss. I have noticed that my brother's professional success has come from his ability to befriend his bosses. His special skill is to be able to talk to bosses the way he would talk to anyone, thereby showing his true colors rather than the cowed personalities we often have in the face of our bosses.

Can we think of this type of power imbalance in the same way that we think of the student-faculty or patient-therapist relationships? I have to say, it is quite interesting to sort out these relationships and see what others think.