It’s not uncommon to start in a non-management position, then work your way up to management within the same organization. Management is often the next level that employees pursue, and since these individuals are already employed with the company, their experience makes it that much easier for them to reach the top.
While advancing to a management role is not always difficult, it’s certainly a challenge when tasked with supervising those who were your former lunch buddies and happy hour partners. The truth is, once the dynamics of the working relationship change, the individual in the management role has a higher level of responsibility and accountability that should not be compromised.
Here are five key tips to help you make a smooth transition from co-worker to boss:
1. Gain a Clear Understanding of the Management Role You Have Accepted
As the saying goes, to who much is given, much is required. Speak with your immediate supervisor and learn the expectations for your new management role. You have to be mentally prepared for it. No longer can you think like an employee who is responsible only for yourself, but as a member of management that is responsible for leading others, enforcing policies, and holding individuals accountable.
Now that you are responsible for supervising and advising others, you must lead by example. You are going to be constantly evaluated by your staff both above and below you. Your former co-workers are watching you closely to see how you will change, and your supervisor is watching to see if you can handle the new job as the boss.
2. Discuss With Your New Supervisor the Need for Support Throughout Your Transition
Communication is key to being successful at work. Inform your manager of how you plan to run your team, and learn if they have any objections. It’s important to ensure that you have your manager’s support, and that you are all on the same page.
3. Have Honest Conversations With Former Co-Workers About How Your Working Relationship Will Change
Don’t assume that your former co-workers will understand the need for your working relationship to change, now that you are their manager. This is why you should speak to each one individually, and let them know that with your new management role, you are held to a higher accountability standard. Therefore, your working relationship will need to change, as well as your day-to-day interactions. Instead of waiting for conflict to arise, be proactive and let them know what to expect. Don’t forget to make it clear that it’s not personal, but business.
4. Schedule a Meeting With All Your Staff A.S.A.P. to Discuss Your Expectations
Being promoted from fellow co-worker to manager is guaranteed to initiate chatter and concern. This is why it’s important to meet with your staff and explain the nature of your new role, the expectations that your management has set for you, and the expectations you have for your staff. Keep in mind that not only is this a transition for you, but also for them.
5. Be a Fair, Consistent, and Transparent Manager
Management is not as easy as it seems, but it doesn’t have to be hard. To be a good manager, you must be fair and treat all employees the same. You must be consistent. Employees pay close attention to how you interact with all staff. Nonetheless, since you have preexisting relationships with some, you have to be extremely mindful of not favoring those individuals in any way.
Finally, be as upfront with your employees as possible. Oftentimes, employees know more than you think, and they will test you in ways to see how honest you will be with them. Although they may not like all of your decisions, they will respect you for being fair, consistent, and transparent.
Nicole K. Webb is founder of NK Webb Group, which specializes in career ownership and workplace development. Visit her company’s website by clicking here. Follow her on Twitter @nkwebbgroup1. Pick up a copy of her book The Workplace Playbook.