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How to Handle Your Promotion

OK, so your talent and determination have finally been noticed and you're now managing your own team.

In some instances this means that people who were previously your colleagues are now - not to put too blunt a point on it - your subordinates. This can be an awkward transition to make.

Added on 08.01.2013

However, make it you must if you are to be an effective and respected manager of your new team. Here are four key points that might help you:

Safe Distance - being respected rather than liked

Depending on how you conducted yourself before your promotion, this might be easier or harder. You can no longer join in slagging matches about bosses and you have to be wary about spreading gossip; instead your role now is to make sure that legitimate concerns are noted, but also that company and senior managerial policy is broadcast and adhered to. You have to notice things you previously overlooked, like time-keeping, or the amount of time people spend on Facebook. You can still socialise (lunch, drinks after work) but you need to conduct yourself as a manager rather than as a colleague when you do so and set a professional example. Whether you're inside or outside the office, if the topic of conversation is work-related, remember what you are now, rather than what you were before.

Sacking People - remain calm

This is always going to be unpleasant, even if you don't know the person concerned, but if this is someone you shared time with in and around work it's going to feel awful. Resist the urge to empathise too much, especially if this person is having their employment terminated for performance issues. Remember you are a representative of the business charged with communicating why this person is being let go. You'll help yourself - and them - far more if you make sure that you focus on explaining why they have to go (which is something that might help them next time), rather than commiserating with them for their miserable luck (which avoids the issue). A good trick to keep things from getting heated or emotional is to make a real effort to speak slowly and quietly, and allow a brief silence between their comments or questions and your responses. Keep the tempo slow and the volume down.

Consistency & Fairness - let people know what to expect

You might have had your favourite people in the organisation before, but you have to consider first the effectiveness of your team members. Do not play favourites. Do not get emotional. Make an extra effort to treat everyone with the same consideration, whether you are praising or disciplining.

Be Yourself

Despite everything we've said above, it's important to be yourself. Some of your behaviour may need to change, but your personality doesn't. You were promoted based on qualities that you demonstrated as a team member, so don't lose sight of them now you are the team leader instead.