I work part-time at a restaurant. I was recently promoted from Team Member to Supervisor. The promotion means more pay, more hours, more responsibility, and access to previously restricted actions. For the most part, however, I still do the same things my coworkers do - but I do more things and am in charge of them. Heck, I'm still even wearing the same badge that says Team Member (I haven't received a new one yet).

I feel as though my coworkers will see me different because of this promotion. I don't want them to see me as their boss as much as a coworker or even work friend. I can already tell some people are treating me differently by acting more professional around me. How do I get my coworkers do see me as one of them instead of a boss?

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    they will see you differently no matter what you do. you can accept it, as it comes with the promotion. or you could ask for a demotion and your old job back if you don't want people to think of you as "supervisor".
    – JoeT
    Sep 10, 2014 at 0:59

2 Answers 2


How can you get your employees to see you as something other than a boss? You can't. Not while remaining a boss.

You need to determine what is more important to you.

If you want to advance in your career, make more money, have more responsibility, then you need to accept the fact that people will treat you differently. Your old peers are no longer your peers. Some will be more guarded around you, and some may try to take advantage of the situation by presuming that you'll overlook things that they're doing wrong, or they'll expect you to treat them differently (special privileges, etc.) because you had a previous "buddies" relationship. Those types of reactions are basic human nature; they transcend industry and culture, and you need to expect - and accept - that they will happen if you are moved to a supervisory position. It will then be your job to deal with them in a professional manner, which may not be the thing that some of your friends expect.

If maintaining your existing relationships "as-is" is more important to you, you'll need to try to return to your previous position as @JoeT mentioned in his comment. Other alternatives are to find another job and maintain the friendships (which can be difficult) or keep the supervisory role and accept that some friendships may suffer.

It's not fair to your friends or to your employer, though, to accept a supervisory role and then try to somehow act as if you're not a supervisor so that people won't treat you differently. That won't work; it will just confuse your direct reports and anger your management.


It's right that they see you as their boss. because you're not going to be able to resolve or manage those people issues that are escalated to you if they don't see you as their boss. Going forward, you are the enforcer of your own decisions and some of the necessary decisions that you will have to make won't do anything for your popularity let alone their perception of you as one of them.

On the bright side, if they see you as a fair and compassionate boss who backs them up and who uses their power and authority to look out for them and make their workday a little less stressful, that's pretty good :) There are a lot of bad bosses out there, especially in the industry you are in. By being a good boss, you are already doing a lot for them, even if they may not always be grateful for it :)

If you want to be a friend, be a friend after work or during off-work hours. You can't afford to be seen as having favorites and, given the visibility of your profile in your workplace, you are not doing your friends a favor by treating them better than others who don't happen to be your friend. Not only do you have to act fair to everyone but you have to SHOW that you act fair.too.

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    +1 - And friends don't ask friends to jeopardize their jobs because they want special treatment.
    – user8365
    Sep 11, 2014 at 14:38

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