How to Transition from Employee to Manager
Moving Up in The Business World
You put in for the promotion and you just got word that you were selected. Now you're a manager! You're so excited that you want to tell everyone at work. Until...you realize that these co-workers who have become good friends at work and even outside of work are now going to be your staff. That is a sobering thought. How will you handle it? How will they?
Moving upwards within a company to a position of management can be tough for everyone involved. Even if people are generally happy for you, it will cause a change in how they look at you. And how you handle this transition can set the tone for your success as a manager.
Reasons to Promote from Within
- Boost employee morale when they see the potential for advancement.
- Help with recruitment for long-term potential within the company.
- Boost employee productivity as they work towards their own promotion.
Keep Personal Relationships Separate From Work
If you have one co-worker that you have developed a close relationship with, it can be difficult for both of you to know how to handle the change. Talk to them before you take on the role of manager and discuss the situation. It would be best to do this outside of work to not give the wrong appearance.
Let your friend know that you value their friendship and would like to maintain it even in your new role. However, let them know their work expectations will be the same as anyone else's. You will be looking at their job and performance rather than at them as a person and you may have to make some tough decisions as the manager.
Just getting the situation out into the open can make things easier. You may also need to limit your personal interaction with them to business only during work hours so as not to give the wrong impression to others.
Expect hours of paperwork.
Expectations Work Both Ways
Just like you will have expectations of others, they will also have some of you. Your former co-workers and new staff will be watching to see how you manage. They will expect you to do several things:
- Lead with confidence. If you are unsure, hide it from your staff. They need to have confidence in your ability to lead them.
- Work just as hard as they do. Or even harder. They will expect you to still get down in the trenches when needed just as you did as an employee.
- Be fair. Give reprimands and praise as deserved.
- Advocate for them to superiors. You are now the go-between with them and your bosses and will represent their interests to those in upper management.
- Not lose contact with your staff now that you have moved into another office.
Every move you make will be weighed and discussed by your staff. While you want to make every effort to show them you are going to be a good manager, there may be times you have to make unpopular decisions. While they may criticize you, they will respect you a lot more.
Learn From Your and Others' Mistakes
If this is your first management position, it will be a drastic change for you. Find someone to be your mentor that you can go to for questions and advice. You can no longer confide in your staff so you need someone on the same level as you or above that you can be open and honest with.
They can provide valuable insight on lessons they have learned when they were at the point where you are now. You also need to understand that you will make mistakes and be willing to admit them and learn from them for the next time. It doesn't mean you are a bad manager; it just means you are still learning.