Staff called less friendly to bosses


Memo to the six workers who report to Bonnie Hall: "Do not call her `boss.'"

She prefers Bonnie, and the formality of a "me-boss, you-worker" relationship drives her nuts. She prefers to cultivate a friendship with her subordinates rather than rule over them like a feudal lord.

"We as employees practically see each other in our pajamas," said Hall, 50, manager of Aaron Cremation and Burial Services in San Bernardino, Calif. She said her workers rely on each other to help them through the stress of always dealing with emotionally distraught customers.

But you can't always force a boss-and-subordinate relationship to blossom into friendship. Social dynamics are always changing in the workplace, and while some work environments bode well for bonding, others do not.

From the eyes of Samuel A. Culbert, co-author of the recently published Don't Kill the Bosses!, superiors and subordinates are becoming too self-sufficient, favoring self-preservation over team unity. True friendships, as well as honest working relationships, are among the casualties of the modern office, Culbert argues.

"We're living in an era when subordinates are telling bosses what they want to hear," he says.

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