The Evolution from Colleague to Manager

In most companies, promoting from within is something common; nonetheless, transitioning from colleague to manager is not as easy as it seems. The main change occurs in the mindset: from individual performance to team performance – you are now responsible for more than yourself. It’s very likely that the promotion is the result of the individual professional performance, but now you need to take care of others, relying on yourself exclusively is not enough anymore.

colleague to manager

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Moreover, you need to start thinking on how the others can develop, as you cannot pretend that you are not interested in what others are (not) doing. The underperformance of your subordinates will sooner or later result into your own lack of performance.

No matter how well you get along with your former colleagues, at the beginning there will be some pretty awkward moments. It can be about the fact that you are trying to establish new rules or that you are no longer buddies.

If it’s written on your forehead that from now on you can “hire and fire”, this doesn’t necessarily turn you into a manager. A manager shouldn’t just be cool, doesn’t have to make friends with everyone, but make sure his/her team delivers the  objectives that have been set by the company, while keeping the team engaged. You don’t need to be the most popular in your team (anymore), no longer need to bad mouth the bosses as you used to – because you are the target of office gossip.

You don’t need to show your rough side; even if your first impulse is to show everyone how good you are in this new position. One of the most important things you have to establish is some individual meetings during which you get to learn about team members’ current focus areas, about the status of some of the projects and how you can pitch in.

No matter how much you want to believe you are still the same good and forthcoming colleague, the relationship will definitely change when you become the boss and it’s just normal to be so. Don’t expect everything to be easy and all team members to feel comfortable having you as their boss. Expect some resistance, especially from those that still believe they could’ve done a better job than you in this role.

Communicate clearly your expectations, on individual as well as on team level. Delegation should be part of your daily menu or else you will fail to accomplish all your tasks.

As you cannot share anymore all information with them due to confidentiality restrictions, don’t beat yourself too hard over the fact that they don’t tell you everything – no matter what you would like to believe.

Even if you generally have an idea who are those who put the effort into their work and who are the slackers, arse-kissers and work simulators, you need to make an objective assessment. By no means don’t generalize, regardless the context and specifics of each situation.

As a new manager you sometimes need more help than your subordinates and those more likely to provide insight with this transition is your manager. Accept the fact that you can make mistakes, even if they meant well; they are still mistakes and there may be people around, waiting to see you stumble.

Good luck succeeding!

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