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We Asked ECPs if They Prefer to Be A Friend or Boss?

buzz session: It’s an age old question … and no surprise many of you vacillate back and forth.

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Question: As a manager, would you rather be a boss or a friend? Why?

  • A boss. Don’t get me wrong, I like to be friendly. I like to know about the people that work with me. But friendship can sometimes blur boundaries, and it can make having to give the tough review harder. — Jenna Gilbertson, McCulley Optix Gallery, Fargo, ND
  • As a manager, I am boss and friend. The staff feels comfortable able to approach me to talk about things happening in their lives. When I have to reprimand staff they understand their error and don’t feeling like they were being chastise. — Danielle Doniver, Heritage Optical, Detroit, MI
  • I’m always a Friend! — Billy Isgett, Eyecare of Florence, Florence, SC
  • Boss. We can be friendly with each other but when the tough decision comes down I can’t be emotionally attached. — Kevin Count, Prentice Lab, Glenview, IL
  • I would rather be a Leader. I believe it is better to teach people to become efficient on their own and want to be part of a team rather than to boss people around. Respect is earned and working together as a team really helps everyone to learn to respect each person and what they do for the office. So I go by Team Lead. — Caitlin Wicka, San Juan Eye Center, Montrose, CO
  • Friend so that I can get more done and motivates better? But I think I’ve changed through the years and not expect to be so friendly and more be boss like . Therefore, I’ve transitioned more to be boss more than friend. — Kaleena Ma, MK Vision Center, Forest Hills, NY
  • Boss, okay to be friends outside of work but don’t play favorites in work. Keep this strictly professional between staff. — Scott Felten, Fox Valley Family Eye Care, Little Chute, WI
  • Boss. When tough decisions need to be made about employees, being a friend can be hard to do. If someone needs to be dismissed, too many people rely on the friendship to be a slacker. — BJ Chambers, Carrera Optical, McQueeney, TX
  • I would rather be a friend as it is easier and more enjoyable but sometimes you can’t be both. — Zachary Dirks, OD, St. Peter and Belle Plaine Eyecare Centers, Saint Peter, MN
  • Boss, but why not both, it’s helpful to associate. — Ken Weiner, OD, Livingston, NJ
  • As well as you get to know your people, there is a clear line between boss and friend. The funny thing is that the boss doesn’t realize that their people also want this distinction. Who wants to listen to every detail of your boss’s love life. Not me! — Steve Nelson, Eye Candy Optical, Westlake, OH
  • Friend. It’s just my style. I would prefer to have someone else be the hard ass. However I will step up if the occasion arises. — Nikki Griffin, EyeStyles Optical and Boutique, Oakdale, MN
  • Neither. I’d like to lead by example. People don’t like bosses and don’t like to be bossed. If you are in a position of authority you can’t cross the line and be a friend. You have to command respect by being respectful and a leader. — Mitchell Kaufman, Marine Park Family Vision, Brooklyn, NY
  • I prefer manager rather than boss. We are here to manage expectations by staff, doctors and patients and make sure everyone is heard. Boss is a strong term and one that should be retired. There is room for friendship in all relationships. — Deb Jaeger, Eye Center of the Dakotas, Bismarck, ND
  • Somewhere in between although the staff treats me only like a boss. True story. .. We had an office Christmas party that I paid for; even Nick the intern was there. I got up to use the facilities and when I came back everyone was in the middle of a Secret Santa gift exchange. I wasn’t informed of it and it turned into an awkward night. However, my wife put a positive spin on it and said they are just treating me like the boss and not a friend. — Marc Ullman, OD, Academy Vision, Pine Beach, NJ
  • Friend. Honestly I have found that when you treat people well and care for them like friends they want to work harder for you and not disappoint you. I know that probably not a popular opinion, but it has worked for me the last 10 years as an owner. — Cynthia Sayers, OD, EyeShop Optical Center, Lewis Center, OH
  • Friend. I feel like being a friend motivates staff more than anything else. We are all on the same team. We may well get along with each other. — Vicki Thompson, Arsulowicz Eye Care, Walker, MI
  • A boss first, a friend a close second. — Rita Ellent, OD, The Gardens Eye Care, Forest Hills, NY
  • Friend. Boss is someone who holds authority but in most cases cannot connect. I want to find human connection first. Someone they can talk to about issues BEFORE they become issues. You don’t demand respect, you earn it. — Heather Aites, Family Vision Center, Westminster, CO
  • I can be both. My peeps love me. As long as they’re doing their jobs then I don’t have to say anything. I hate micro-managers. — Jeff Grosekemper, Casa De Oro Eyecare, Spring Valley, CA
  • A friendly boss. If you are too chummy, it interferes with expectations. — Star Taylor, Richens Eye Center, St George, UT
  • I will be a friendly boss. Friendly, but the boss, nonetheless. — Pablo E. Mercado, Optima Eye Care, Alpharetta, GA
  • I’ve always found it difficult to be a boss only without caring about my staff as people which crosses into friendship. I do draw the line at being Facebook friends or socializing outside the workplace. — Paula Hornbeck, Eye Candy & Eye Candy Kids, Delafield, WI
  • friend-boss. Caring about team members goes a long way in relating to them. When you know your team you know how to talk to, coach, encourage and reward them. — Melanie Jenkins, Spring Hill Eyecare, Spring Hill, TN
  • A friendly boss. I enjoy being with my team, sharing the good and leading through the bad. However, sometimes I have to be the boss and that is easier if I am not working with my besties. — Amie Robinson, Spring Hill Eyecare, Spring Hill, TN
  • Friend. I believe that if we approach employees with kindness and treat them like they are human rather than robots, they will be much more receptive to what I, as their manager, have to say. — Cassandra Nash, HD Optical Express, Lansing, MI
  • this is a business not a social club. You are not being fair to other employees if you don’t keep it strictly business. — Adam Ramsey, OD, Socialite Vision, Palm Beach Gardens, FL
  • Boss. You can be a boss and be friendly. Tough to be a friend and an effective boss. — Dave Goodrich, Goodrich Optical, Lansing, MI
  • I would rather be the “go to” not labeled as a “boss” and work is work I am not at my workplace to make “friends” Doing the job at hand, taking care of patients in a professional way and being good to the staff can be done without a label of “friend” or “boss.” — William Chancellor, Eye Can See Eyewear, Forsyth, GA
  • Friend, because I’m not a good boss! — Dave Schultz, OD, Urban Optics, San Luis Obispo, CA
  • A friend, it’s much easier to affect change from within. — Tiffany Firer, Lifetime Eyecare, Jenison, MI
  • Boss. Friends will take advantage of the friendship. — Dorothy Reynolds, Eyes on Fairfield, Fairfield CT
  • Boss … I’ve learned that I’m alone in this process and probably prefer it that way. — Alissa Irons, OD, BLINK, Albuquerque, NM
  • Our office is so small everyone is pretty much a friend. — Kristina Jordan, The Eye Site, Mishawaka, IN
  • Friend, because my default is conflict avoidance. I’m actually great at dealing with unhappy customers, but don’t make me face up to a volcano brewing in my team! Gives me ulcers! — Jen Heller, Pend Oreille Vision Care, Sandpoint, ID
  • As a manager, I would rather be a boss. It is hard to draw the line of respect as a manager while being a friend. — Ann-Marie Weaver, Optimal Eye Care, Lewis Center, OH
  • Boss. You can quickly lose the respect of certain types of employees if you cross to the friend. — Chris Dudley, Lake Eye/Precision Optical, Wildwood, FL
  • Friend because it is my personality but after 30 Years, friend employees can turn on a dime against you. So be wise and be the boss! — Scott Keating, OD, Vision Trends, Dover, OH
  • Friend. Our office is like our family, they understand when they mess up and I’m here to coach them to improve but I’ve never been a fan of managing like a dictator. — Travis LeFevre, Krystal Vision, Logan, UT
  • Being a boss allows me to afford being a friend. — Richard Frankel, OD, Atlantic Cape Eyecare, Wildwood, NJ
  • Boss. — Bethany Cassar, Complete Eye Health, Holland, MI
  • I’d rather be a boss, unfortunately I think I come off more as a friend. It’s sometimes harder to get staff to listen and execute if they perceive you as more of a friend than a boss. By the same token, I don’t want to treat the office like a dictatorship. Staff need to have input into the decision-making process and ESPECIALLY should have the authority to make decisions on refunding money to patients. I want patients to leave our office happy and if that means taking a $500 hit occasionally because someone’s progressives didn’t work that’s fine. Do it quickly and graciously and keep patients happy. — Tom Brillante, OD, Decatur Eye Care, Decatur, GA
  • Boss, it helps in the event of disciplining staff. — Sonja Franklin, OD, Modern Eyes, Austin, TX
  • Neither! That’s why I don’t own a business, I like to go home when its quitting time not continue working. As for a friend, I try not to make those at work. Work should never involve personal life and personal life should never involve work life! — Lindsey Pulford, Insights Eyecare, Manhattan KS
  • Boss 80% of time, friend 20%. Business is business! You have to separate the two. — Mark Perry, OD, Vision Health Institute, Orlando, FL
  • I think there needs to be a good mix of both. If you’re too friendly, bad things happen. There needs to be boundaries and rules. — Judy Scheuerell, Fox Valley Family Eye Care, Little Chute, WI
  • I think you have to be a little bit of both. As a manager, you have to be able to listen to the employee. If you establish up front what your expectations are and set a good example, the employees will follow. But sometimes situations arise, and you need to be able to sit down with an employee and help them work thru a problem. — Susan Kantor, Central Phoenix Eyecare, Phoenix, AZ
  • Boss. I can’t be their friend, though I can try to have respect and love. — Douglas Holle, OD, Sunset Eye Care, San Angelo, TX
  • As a manager of my practice, I would rather be a leader and have my employees follow my lead to improve all aspects of patient care. — Robert M. Easton Jr. OD, Oakland Park, FL
  • Boss. The friend thing has caused problems in the past. There is always someone who feels like another employee is getting favorable treatment. — Kathryn Collins, OD, Kissel Eye Care, Lititz, PA
  • Boss. Friendship blurs the lines. — Laura Miller, OD, Northwest Hills Eye Care, Austin, TX
  • Boss. Friends can get taken advantage of and not taken seriously when things need to be taken seriously. Stephanie Crowley, Sie Eyecare, Charlotte, NC
  • Boss. This is a business, not a club. — Steve Burek, Metro Eye, Milwaukee, WI
  • Boss … getting things done for the practice demands that you put your job first … you have friends you need great employees. — Chris A. Clark, Advanced Eye Care, Panama City, FL
  • A friendly boss or better yet a leader that can get employees to want to work together for a common goal. — Miguel Rodriguez, Fava & Maria Eye Associates, Lebanon, PA
  • Boss. It’s harder to discipline or fire a friend. — Steve Burek, Metro Eye, Milwaukee WI
  • Both, you don’t have to be just one or the other. I can get my point across in a positive/friendly way and it makes for a much better work environment. — Frances Ann Layton, Eye Associates of South Georgia, Valdosta, GA
  • Boss. It’s just easier to keep everything separate. — Ron Catterson, Clear View Optix, The Villages, FL
  • Friend, my personality. — Chris Gregg, IGH Family Eye Clinic, Inver Grove Heights
  • A boss. — Kate Broeckelman, PrairieStar Health Center, Hutchinson, KS
  • Boss. — Edna Cooley, Shelby Macomb Vision Associates, Shelby Township, MI
  • Boss, it keeps things from getting muddled. — Laura Miller, Northwest Hills Eye Care, Austin, TX
  • In the words of Michael Scott “Would I rather be feared or loved? Easy, Both. I want people to be afraid of how much they love me.” But all joking aside, there is balance between being a boss and a friend. I view a boss more as a coach cheering you on to be the best you can be and addressing concerns as they arise. — Katie McDowall, Northside Vision Center, Spokane, WA
  • I think striking the balance is the key to a successful store. You want customers to feel like they are walking into a friendly environment so keeping the “friendly boss” motif is important. At the same time, it’s important that behind the scenes things are kept running smoothly and that’s where the boss hat goes on. — Harris Decker, Eye Designs of Westchester, Scarsdale, NY

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