Professional friends, is that even possible and do they mix? Or in reality is this mentoring? Young or old, new or veteran to the industry, we all can learn from each other.
Friendship through mentoring is an important part of our industry.
Establishing a reputation as a leader creates an opportunity for you to be viewed by your peers as someone they should know and use as a role model. It is important you create your image to be one of inclusion and motivating to others. People will always follow someone they like who shows respect to them in their knowledge and abilities and desire to give them additional opportunities where their talents are seen by others.
Many people want the opportunity to be seen as a leader but may shy away from the spotlight as they are unsure of their abilities or feel they may be out of place. This is where the leadership you project to your colleagues will help encourage them to step forward even if it is just a step or two. This is also where as you project your image you can also be seen as a safety valve if someone suddenly feels out of place or now feels unsure of their abilities. Having you as their anchor will bolster them to achieve more.
This also has another element to it which is flattering and encouraging someone when a task that faces them may seem overwhelming to them, yet you know they have the ability to complete. This is an area where you can have an almost life changing effect on them when they hear from you the expression of true confidence in their abilities. Everyone needs a boost periodically and when you hear it from certain people it means even more to you.
One last but very important point is never abuse a friendship or put them in a situation which could compromise them. When you are unsure of a situation ask their permission before making a commitment. You must always show them the respect that you would expect.