LIFE

Why It's Never Really OK To Date Your Boss

OK, there are some exceptions, but one of you might have to resign.

03/03/2017 10:32 AM AEDT | Updated 03/03/2017 11:19 AM AEDT
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Keeping love in the office a secret is almost impossible.

Many of us meet the love of our life at work and go on to live happily married lives with multiple children. When two people discover they have chemistry and happen to be seeing each other everyday in the office, chances are it's not always possible to avoid the inevitable love-fest.

You only have to look at recent high profile cases of office relationships that have unravelled and the headline-inducing consequences. The ripples can also still be felt after one of you leaves the office.

The board of one of Australia's top companies, QBE, recently stripped its chief executive of $550,000 because he failed to disclose his relationship with his executive assistant, who has since resigned.

But when you fall for your boss, and your boss falls for you, it might be one of those things that is greater in theory than in practice. Of course, it's incredibly risky. Even if your relationship is supposedly "top secret" the truth will eventually crawl out of that hole you're quietly digging for yourselves.

People management and leadership expert Karen Gately told The Huffington Post Australia, dating your boss is treading on potentially dangerous territory.

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If you do end up dating your boss you'd better face the fact that one of you might need to resign.

"If you do develop feelings for your boss and the chemistry is very real and you're both serious about the relationship, then the first step is to understand the potential consequences. If your business is a corporate structure, one of you might need to leave the company," Gately said.

"It's very difficult to expect employers to maintain a direct reporting relationship when you have that very clear conflict of interest. It's also very difficult for the rest of the team, in terms of issues of favouritism or undermining the bosses credibility around maintaining objectivity. You can't really performance manage the person you're sleeping with."

International keynote speaker, business and leadership consultant Rowdy McLean told HuffPost Australia the biggest risk when dating your boss is the belief -- whether it's true or not -- that you get special treatment.

"Other staff will think that you gain advantages that are not accessible to them. In fact, most people that are in a relationship with the boss get treated in a much harsher way by the boss to show there is no favouritism. However, the other staff will not believe that you don't get the inside running, are privy to personal information, discuss the inner workings of your team with the boss and let her in on all the gossip," McLean said.

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If you're going to date your boss you need to discuss the potential repercussions.

"It's hard to make an office relationship work, particularly with the boss. If you venture in this direction, expect to lose some friends and to be treated with caution and lack of trust.

"Ultimately, if you are going to date the boss, it's time to start looking for another job. If you stay, it will end badly. While you may think it's all rosy and OK, it just places to much pressure on both of you."

McLean said there is only ever one time when it is okay to be in a relationship with your boss.

"The only good time to date the boss is when you are in business together, and even that's tough!"



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