When you become a manager you’ll find that a lot of the colleagues you used to work with will suddenly change their attitude towards you. A lot of colleagues will be really pleased for you because you’ve been promoted and done well for yourself – others will take it personally, especially if they wanted the promotion that you received. In this article we’re going to look at some great ways in which you can ease the friction and tension caused when you’re promoted ahead of your peers.
“Your peers will not accept you as their boss until “you” accept that you are their boss.”
Perhaps the last thing you want (or need) to be doing when you’re promoted is to be “clearing the air” with colleagues – but that’s what you’ll have to do. The fact is that you’re all going to have to get used to the fact you’ve been promoted, no matter how much they don’t like it. The best course of action is to be proactive, involve your colleagues in your new position: Where practical delegate tasks and roles to them that fall under your manager’s remit. Not only will this help that person feel fulfilled and trusted (which helps towards “Self Actualization” in Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs), it’ll also help to lighten your bulging workload.
Deal with dissent
It’s fair to say that at some point or another you’ll face dissent from an employee, maybe more than one. Their gripe may well boil down to something driven from ego, and it’ll all have been triggered by the fact that it was you who was promoted not them. It’s important that you deal with dissent within your workforce whether employees like it or not, you’re the boss now – not them.
Make sure you deal with fact when dealing with dissent, don’t go acting on Chinese whispers about “X person said this about you”. You definitely need a stiff upper lip as a manager – forget about what employees may be saying behind your back, just deal with what happens in front of you. If an employee treats you in a less than acceptable manner you need to pull them up on it immediately. Some managers take a robust approach to dissent – others take a more measured approach. Often it helps to do the later – sit down with the person who has an issue with you and sound out their problem through dialogue. Often when put on the spot that person won’t be able to justify their hostility towards you – it’s much better to help someone see the error of their ways as opposed to just disciplining them without actually explaining why. A lot of dissent in the workplace can be cleared up over a quiet chat and a cup of coffee – you don’t have to go in all guns blazing.
Whilst taking the measured approach is advisable, it’s important to remember that your employees won’t come to terms with the fact you’re manager until you come to terms with fact that you’re now the manager. This is backed up by John Halter at Street Smart Leader when he says:
“It is not about keeping or making friends. It is about creating results to further the goals of your company. Your peers will not accept you as their boss until “you” accept that you are their boss.”
Being picked for promotion over colleagues is the ultimate nod of approval from senior management – but it doesn’t come without issues. The sooner you come to terms with the fact you’re no longer “one of the gang” and that you’re now a manager, the sooner everyone else will recognise this too.