This is an interesting dilemma because, on the face of it, you have been promoted to a new management position and you are delighted with all the excitement and nervousness that a new position like this brings you.
On the other hand, you are concerned with how your ex-peers with whom you worked so well in the past will view you. Will there be jealousies because of the new position? How should you interact and communicate with them, now that you have further responsibilities? Your ex-peers may expect you to be the same as you were before, only now you have the power to fix things that you all were complaining about as a team. So when are you going to start to fix them?
Before, you were saying ‘Why don’t they…? or ‘If only they would…’. Now, of course, you are one of the general crowd they called ‘they’!
Although it might be tempting to jump in and fix everything, hold back a bit until you can see what it all looks like from the viewpoint that ‘they’ have got.
Can you still be a friend with your old team-mates? I believe you can, only there are now a few more boundaries around you because of your increased responsibilities. Firstly, have a start-up team meeting with your ‘new’ team. Work on what values you as a team are now going to work to. Resist the temptation to try to prove you’re the ‘boss’. They won’t value your contribution if you start ‘lording it over them’, as it were.
Openly discuss your new role with them. Agree how you will communicate with them. Let them know that you are responsible for their performance and discipline, so agree how you will work together to get the results the team needs in order to still maintain an impact within the business. Discuss what changes you anticipate bringing in, including how you will interact with them.If you feel you can still be friends, discuss the boundaries that will obviously have to be set. You don’t want a situation where your discipline and performance management is affected by your close friendship.
Make sure all your ex-peers understand the difference between your friend-role and your manager-role. Ensure they understand the reasons why you will have to talk about performance issues, especially if discipline is involved. You must be seen as being fair and unbiased. Your manager will not look upon it kindly if your results start to suffer because you have favoured some of your friends and their performance is not good enough.
It is obviously a challenge that you want to deal with professionally. And there’s no reason why you can’t succeed in your new role if you have the backing of your old team-mates.
Mark Williams is a learning and development professional, using business psychology and multiple intelligences to create fascinating and quickly-identifiable learning initiatives in the real-world business setting. Mark’s role at MTD is to ensure that our training is leading edge, and works closely with our trainers to develop the best learning experiences for all people on learning programmes. Mark designs and delivers training programmes for businesses both small and large and strives to ensure that MTD’s clients are receiving the very best training, support and services that will really make a difference to their business.