In your opinion, can a leader maintain a personal friendship with some member(s) of his/her work group or team without creating the perception of favoritism?
I think this is completely feasible for a leader to maintain a personal friendship with some member(s) of his/her work group or team without creating the perception of favoritism. However, this can happen when the leader is absolutely transparent with all the team members regarding the friendship and the leader clearly communicates the same to all team members. In addition, the leader must be absolutely objective and full of integrity with all the team members. The leader must explain his decisions to all team members and answer their queries if any. The leader must focus on building trust with all team members through honesty, integrity, and baselessness. Therefore, the leader must exhibit honesty, transparency, integrity, and baselessness in all his/her conducts. He/she needs to clearly define targets, key responsibility areas, performance benchmarks and performance evaluation criteria. Also, the leader needs to be especially careful in being transparent while assigning tasks, giving feedback, conducting performance appraisals and recommending for salary hike. When all the team leaders have a clear perception that the leader takes decisions on the basis of objectives criteria rather than vague and subjective criteria, the team members will not have any perception of favoritism.