So here I am, a couple of days into my new role. The euphoria that I felt originally has been somewhat dampened. The last 48 hours have been a whirlwind – trying to get my head around a new routine, new meetings and new demands. I expected that. I knew this would be a big change. I know (I hope!) it will settle and become more normal.
The thing that I had not really thought about or considered is how the others in the team might react to my promotion. This is a team of 4 people, all of whom I have got to know over the last couple of years since joining the company. I have always got on well with them all, been a part of the office ‘banter’ and we have occasionally enjoyed a few drinks after work. We have shared our collective thoughts on what could be better in the team, and why our manager was not doing what he should be doing etc etc (it all seems so simple when it is someone else’s responsibility!)
Now I am the manager. It is me who is responsible for managing them. Their workloads, their time management, approving holidays, bonuses and pay increases. And in addition to this my close friend John felt that he was in line for the role that I now have.
When I think about it logically, it is no wonder that I can feel a change in the dynamic. It feels like the discussions are going on around me. The team are suddenly a bit guarded toward me. And John is angry. He has not said that directly to me, but he has been overlooked and I know that this role was important to him. I know him well enough to see that he is not in a great place following my move.
There is also another member of the team, Simon, who John and I had often discussed when we were colleagues, as we felt that Simon could do more and that we were often left to pick up the slack. It was one of the ‘things’ that we felt our line manager at the time should do more about but never did. That issue has not gone away, but now I have the responsibility to do something about it.
This whole situation feels very foreign to me. This group were (are?) my friends, but now I am the ‘boss’. But I haven’t changed. I am still the same person that I was a week ago, but now I have a different job title and more responsibility, and that seems to have changed things a lot.
I am really not sure how to manage this. John is a really strong part of the team, and I need to make sure that he continues to be. And I know that he will be looking at me and how I plan to manage the Simon situation with a critical eye.
How do I make that transition to being ‘the boss’ in a way that is authentic to me, but also allows the team to feel comfortable with me?
This is not as easy as I thought……
Please note, whilst the situations I describe are very real experiences, all names referenced have been changed