How To Make The Transition From Colleague To Manager

Business woman climbing career ladderMany working individuals aspire to work their way up the corporate ladder, and when the opportunity to join the ranks of management is offered, they happily accept. However, on the first day on the job, these individuals can become disillusioned as they realise that the changeover from being a co-worker to managing the same individuals is not always easy.

Since respect and deference must be earned, it often takes a while for the employees to recognise the new manager as an authority figure.

Before that, they can slack off, not follow instructions, and even make fun of the new boss.

To help this transition, we will provide a few pieces of advice.

Be Open – Remember that even though you are not the boss, you are still surrounded by the same people you had lunch and gossiped with.

Therefore, be open and share your thoughts about your new position with them.

Communicate and let them know that even though you are the manager, you still need their help in making the team a success, and will probably make mistakes.

If you are vocal about your own concerns with this transition, it is likely that the staff members will respect you more and try to help you out.

Work Hard – Getting a leadership position does not mean that you have now earned the chance to take long lunches and leave early while the rest of the department works.

In fact, if you do this, you can count on a revolt, especially to a brand new manager. You need to prove to your team that you now have added responsibilities, but you will work alongside them to get the work done since you are an integral part of the team.

This is what earns true respect from subordinates; don’t just expect the new title will achieve that.

Be a Quick Learner – One of the most important, yet often the hardest, strategies for new managers is to be quick learners.

Supervisors have to adjust from just focusing on their own job loads to actually overseeing other people, and making sure their daily agendas get completed.

Also, they need to be very informed about the organisation’s mission, projects, deadlines and intricacies, well enough to explain them to and motivate other team members.

Employees quickly know when their managers know what they’re talking about and when they don’t, so it’s important to invest the time to learn about the business to get the respect of your subordinates.

It’s often not easy to make the switch from being someone’s colleague to now becoming their superior. However, there are tips you can use to make that transition smoother and easier for both sides.

Many Thanks

Mark Williams

Head of Training and Development

MTD Training   

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Updated on: 8 June, 2015

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