Should You Accept If Your Boss Adds You On Facebook?
There's a lot to consider when adding or accepting your boss on Facebook.
But if you refuse, could the online snub make your office life a little difficult?
There are three things to consider when adding colleagues on Facebook and accepting requests from them.
- Personal preference -- do you want to be friends with your boss or colleague?
- Workplace culture-- is it normal for colleagues to be friends on social media in that particular environment?
- Contractual restrictions- does your contract forbid you from being friends with your boss or co-workers on social media?
Have A Personal Rule
When it comes to personal preference, there is no simple answer. Communications Advisor Anna Cairo told 10 daily having a personal rule about who you add on Facebook and sticking to it is a sure-fire way to avoid awkwardness in the office.
"If you have a policy for yourself and that policy may be 'I'm not friends with colleagues' then you can say that to your boss -- 'I just keep my Facebook personal,'" Cairo said.
Career Counselor Tina Monk said addressing the situation directly and in-person can reduce misunderstanding if you don't want to have your boss as an online friend.
"Explain that you respect them and their position and that you prefer to keep your personal and professional lives separate and that you’re sure that they understand," Monk said.
Be Aware Of Ramifications
Being aware of what you share online is vital if you are connected with your boss on socials.
This can get murky when introducing a person in a position of authority into a space traditionally reserved for friends Monk told 10 daily.
"They decide what ranking to give you on your performance appraisal and whether you receive a pay rise or not. You may also have information on Facebook that you wouldn’t want your boss to see, such as drunken nights out with mates or possibly even venting about your job or, worse still, your boss," Monk said.
Cario said one key issue can relate to a person's opinions they share online, especially if they differ from that of their boss. These could include views on religion, sexuality or politics.
And even if they try to curb that behaviour after accepting their boss as a Facebook friend, that is likely to be short-lived.
"You need to be careful with what you say. The reality is that if you have hundreds of friends on Facebook -- which a lot of people do have -- you will forget your boss is your friend on Facebook and you will drop your guard," Cario said.
"You might be on your best behaviour for the first month or two and then you will just revert to what your behaviour is."
The lines between professional and personal life are becoming increasingly blurred according to Leadership Development and Team Culture professional Shelley Flett.
Flett told 10 daily that staff need to be comfortable with conversations that could arise at work related to online activity.
"Staff don't portray their full selves at work and sometimes we bring only a part of ourselves to work," Flett said.
"If people have potentially strong views they share on social media but would not be comfortable sharing that in the workplace and often it might be a value alignment type of things ... that may also be a reason not wanting to openly connect with their boss on Facebook."
Being Friends With Your Boss Could Be A Good Thing
It's not all bad.
Being friends with your boss on Facebook could help nurture a stronger personal relationship with them. Seeing their photos of family and events on social media means you are able to form a deeper connection with your boss in the office.
"You can go deeper in the conversation quicker if you are friends with someone through social media... the conversation goes from 'how was your weekend?' to 'I saw what you did on the weekend, how was that experience?'," Flett said.
If All Else Fails ... Ignore The Request
If it's all a bit awkward and you want to avoid the situation... you could ... ghost the request.
"That could perhaps be the best way to go and if they mention it you could just say, 'oh, I'm not on Facebook that often'. There are ways around it," Cairo said.
Flett said that most bosses would be too busy to worry about your Facebook friendship status anyway.
"To be honest, most leaders are way too busy to monitor whether their staff has accepted them or not ... I don't think they would have enough time to analyse that and really read into it," Flett said.
Contact Siobhan at firstname.lastname@example.org