Handling the transition from colleague to manager

April 24, 2024
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Congratulations-you've been promoted! You’ve finally become your teams manager-a dream come true!

But what an intriguing and sensitive situation when only a few weeks ago, you and your colleagues were having conversations about how terrible your manager was.

Being promoted from within the same team can turn into a nightmare if the situation is not handled well. Your colleagues may have trouble accepting your new role, frustrations can occur and your team may even start to avoid you. However, if well managed, you and your team can experience a pretty smooth transition. Here are some things to consider when you're about to start your new role as a team manager.  

1. Accept that relationships will change and even if you were best of friends with your co-workers, your professional relationships will need to grow and evolve. It doesn't mean you will become the "hated manager" however, you will no longer be a peer but the person who is expected to run the show, analyze and assess performances, make decisions for the whole team and inevitably take responsibility.

2. Before jumping into your new role, make sure you have all the tools and the proper training in hand. Check with your HR department for what trainings are available and how they can support you in your new role.  

3. Have 1:1 meetings with your team members. Take an individual moment with every team member to talk about their concerns. Make sure they understand your new role as leader, their responsibilities and the role they are expected to play in the team's success. Take the time to understand their needs and challenges. Explain that you are there to collaborate and support them going forward. 

4. Be fair, equitable and as neutral as possible. As a manager, people expect you to be fair in your decisions, which means thinking for the good of the entire team and not for a few of the members (even if they're your best friends!) In addition, it is expected from a manager not to be in league with any employee when a conflict or an issue occurs but to remain neutral and impartial. If you can't, other departments may help you to manage this situation. 

5. As the new manager develops a new work plan and a game plan for how you and your team will work together to achieve the goals and objectives of the department. Be sure to communicate the goals clearly and to follow up.  

Remember that being a manager is not about trying to be popular but about achieving results, helping your employees develop their professional careers, and ensuring you take care of their well-being. You may not win over all the employees in the department immediately and you may even have some challenges at the beginning with some of your peers who also applied for your position. Deal with those sensitive issues openly in your 1:1’s and make sure you focus on your new responsibilities and the objectives of the team.



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