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Promotion versus Friendship on the Job
When we are working hard in our career, we often don’t think of the effect it will have on our coworkers or friends. Foremost on your mind is the impression you’re making on management. It’s important to remember that management has not stopped observing your actions now that you are a supervisor. If anything, you are under even closer scrutiny to see how well you will handle the transition from staff to management. So where do you start?
Have you ever heard of the “First 100 Days?” How well you handle your first few months as supervisor will set the tone for your entire management career within the organization. To start, you need to remember you are no longer part of the gang. No matter how disturbing this may be, you need to step into the role of management. Begin by sitting down individually with each person reporting to you.
You need to set expectations of job performance. This is going to be a hard conversation with some of your staff. Once they are set, you need to abide by those expectations. It’s important you let them know that you valued them as a peer or friend, but now you have stepped into the role of management. While creating a sense of teamwork is fundamental, they need to know they need to follow your instructions.
There may be other habits you will also need to adjust. This includes going to lunch with your friends and acting like “one of the guys”. As a member of management you will be privy to a lot of confidential company information. If lunch used to be the time when you complained about management or participated in the rumor mill, that practice needs to end immediately.
The bottom line is you need to ask yourself about your own goals and values. Are your friendships so important you would risk or refuse a promotion? Ask yourself, if your friends are so upset about your new management status, were they really your friends to begin with? While the transition from coworker to management is a difficult one, setting and standing firm in your expectations will help you make the transition. This will also help you to gain respect. The adjustment will not happen overnight but with patience, being firm and fair, it will happen.
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