Promoted from the Ranks – Making the transition from team-member to team-leader

Team-Member to Team-Manager

Leisa Bulow

By: Leisa Bulow – October 2015

Congratulations! The powers that be have recognised how good you are at your job, and have promoted you above your teammates. Well done!

Of course, everyone is super happy for you, and they all know how much you deserve it, and none of them are upset that they didn’t get the job. Right? Hmmm.

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And then there is your good buddy in the team, who you go out with on a Friday night, often hang around together with on the weekends too. When you were told of your promotion, you were also told you couldn’t do that anymore and you had to be more distant in the workplace, so there could be no perception of favouritism. So you stop everything just as you were told to.

How do you handle these?

Firstly, you need to demonstrate that you are fair and impartial with everyone. Set expectations for the team and maintain them equally with all. The disenchanted team members who missed out on the job (or just don’t think you should have it!) need to respect that you will do the right thing by everyone. Don’t pussy-foot around them, or feel that you need to stamp your authority on them. If rumours or back-biting occurs, then take them aside for a chat and sort out any issues quietly and calmly. This should not be a spectator sport!

As for your best mate, in your efforts to show equity, you may inadvertently treat them a little harsher than normal. If you haven’t discussed the circumstances of your change towards them, they are likely to be hurt and confused. You need to have a frank one-on-one discussion about separating your private and professional lives. This should not be done at work, since you have such a close friendship and intertwined personal lives. Do this one-on-one in a personal and private setting. Be honest with your friend. Point out that this is a great opportunity for you, but you don’t want to destroy your relationship. Help them to understand that you must keep a level of professionalism at work, and that you don’t want either of you to suffer with other team members complaining about favouritism. You will possibly even need to tone down your after-hours activities with each other. It will be a tough conversation to have, but it is better than not having it and having your relationship implode at work.

Don’t worry, these things may not happen to everyone, and I hope your transition to supervisor of your team mates is supported and welcomed by all!

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About the Author:

Leisa Bulow is a Learning & Development specialist, with over 25 years’ experience in customer service, sales, training, and leadership and management roles in a diverse range of industries, including retail, banking and finance, government departments and government projects (both state and national), and various corporate private enterprises.

Leisa currently contracts to (or consults in) businesses in her role as a Learning & Development Specialist/Manager and Instructional Designer, providing written and delivered training solutions and online training modules in technical systems training, leadership, customer service, sales, effective communication, team-building, and time management, and other courseware customised to the organisation she is working for.

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