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Nothing reinforces a professional relationship like enjoying success with someone.

—Harold Ramis

School leaders need to be aware that staff members analyze the leader’s relationships with an amazing intensity. Friendships between principals and teachers do occur-and it is quite possible that is healthy for both the individuals and the organization. However, leaders who want to support the professional growth of their staff must not play favorites or do anything that could give anybody the perception that they are playing favorites. Consider the following scenario:

Sally Fitzpatrick, elementary principal, grew up with Ann Anderson and remained in contact with her throughout their adult lives. Three years ago, when Sally was named principal of Hawkington Elementary School in Montana, where Ann worked, Sally was excited that she would know someone on staff. Ms. Fitzpatrick and Ms. Anderson’s friendship grows quickly as Sally becomes acquainted with her new town. Sally and Ann make plans before school begins in August to attend a live performance by one of their favorite comedians in early November.