An exciting, yet difficult transition you can go through in your career is becoming the manager of a group or team you were once a part of. You have to quickly flip a switch from being their peer to being their boss. It may seem impossible to make this a smooth transition. There is a chance you might not get the support and respect that you deserve from some of the people. If or when this occurs, here are some steps you can take to make this experience beneficial and positive for everyone involved.
Have a Meeting and Be Straight Forward with Your Team
Immediately after the change, bring your team together to acknowledge the change and set expectations. During the meeting bring up the fact that you know the group well due to the fact that you were a part of it. Also acknowledge that you will be handling work situations differently than you would have in the past.
Let them know that it will certainly be a strange process for everyone involved, but over time, it will become beneficial for everyone. Indicate that since you were once working with them, you have a strong trust in what they can do and this will translate into the way you manage them. Let them know that you will fully support them and ask that they offer the same in return.
Don’t Take the Transition Lightly
Just because you got along and worked well with your team when you were amongst them, doesn’t mean you will seamlessly transition into being their boss and maintain the same relationship. You have to respect this change and what it means by completely changing your mindset. Realize that the transition will take some time as well. Your employees, who were once your peers, won’t immediately respect you as their boss. Realize that this transition process will take time for everyone involved.
Be Ready for Some Inevitable Resistance
Since you used to be one of them your employees may think you are going to immediately fix the issues you all use to talk about. Therefore, when these things aren’t remedied right away they will probably become frustrated and, in turn, begin to resist the change. They may also out of jealousy try to challenge you or test your leadership abilities. While this situation isn’t ideal, when human nature kicks in it is certainly possible. Handle this by making them just as much a part of the change as you are. Ask them what you can do to make the transition smoother. Be transparent with your expectations and ask for their feedback on whether they think the goals you set are attainable. It is also human nature for people to have the desire to feel included. By doing this, you are making them just as much a part of the change as you are.
Realize You Have to Change Your Behavior
With this change comes the fact that you are no longer a member of the team like you used to be. This means refraining from any sort of office gossip you may have found yourself a part of in the past. It also means refraining from negative talk about management that you may have taken part in. As a manager, it wouldn’t look good if you were criticizing other levels of management. Finally, it’s important to recognize that there is a difference between being respectful to your employees and being their buddy. This may cause confusion and lead your team members to not respect you the way they should.
There is no doubt that this transition will be awkward and you will hit some roadblocks along the way. However, if handled correctly, the situation will inevitably smooth itself out and become positive and beneficial for everyone involved.