The article in brief: the author looks at the dynamics and the challenges associated when one employee is promoted and then has to manage his former colleagues.
You’ve been waiting for that promotion for so long. You know you have what it takes to manage a department and run it successfully and now you’ve finally landed that opportunity. Except it isn’t as rosy as you’d thought it’d be. You’ve got the title and the pay raise, but what you didn’t realize is that you are going from being a peer to a boss. People who you’d normally have lunch with or get into friendly banter with, are now your subordinates. So how do you go about making that transition without making a few enemies along the way?
To begin with, you need to ease your way into the new role and the new responsibilities that come with it. It is best to take things slow with any major changes to avoid stepping on any toes and damaging relationships. However, you also have to establish your authority early on, not to show who’s the boss, but so that everyone is clear on their roles and responsibilities. It is best to be direct and forthright to ensure that the new department objectives are clear for everyone and that their KPIs are interlinked with yours. It is also important to involve the team in some of the decision making so that they also feel valued and know that their input is also conducive to the success of the team. These discussions can also help to gain your peers’ trust as you demonstrate that you are there to support and help them grow in their career as well.
Going from a colleague to a boss can be difficult because if you had close relationships with these team members before, you will now have to somewhat distance yourself from them. This is not to say that you have to cut all ties, but to keep the social interaction to a minimum. If you had a habit of poking fun or making comments about the management, you now have to be careful not to engage in such activities. Being too friendly with one particular subordinate could also inadvertently lead to issues of favoritism and misunderstandings. Therefore, as you take on the role of the manager, it is imperative that you set well-defined boundaries so that you can maintain professionalism at all times.
It may be a difficult transition at first, but it is one that will definitely enable you to grow, develop, and add new skills to your profile, as you lead your team to collectively achieve results. This is a stepping stone towards new possibilities and with the right attitude and determination, the new role can be successful not only to you and the business, but also to the people that are now under your wing.
- Harvard Business Review (2012). “How to Manage Your Former Peers”. Retrieved 14 September 2014. http://blogs.hbr.org/2012/12/how-to-manage-your-former-peer/
- Forbes (2013). “8 Tips to Transition From Co-Worker to Manager”. Retrieved 14 September 2014. http://www.forbes.com/sites/lisaquast/2013/09/30/8-tips-to-transition-from-co-worker-to-manager/
Bahar is a recruiter by profession, an aspiring writer by night, and a mom of toddler twins. She has an unending thirst for learning, as she completed her BComm in Canada, an MA in Dubai, and continues to develop herself with reading and research.
With her column, she shares her journey as she grows and learns more about this crazy beautiful world we live in.