Managers on the Move: Buddy to Boss

I was asked for advice on how newly promoted managers should approach the touchy issue of now having to supervise their former peers. While this is not a new issue, it is an important issue to anyone challenged with this move.

While it’s exciting to be promoted, supervising your coworkers adds complexity. To ensure mutual success, start by meeting individually with each of your new direct reports. Scheduling regular one-on-one meetings is a great practice for effective supervision. And this first meeting can set the stage for your new relationship.

Some of your former peers may be thrilled that you got this new position – others may not. So, approach each discussion taking into consideration each person’s feelings as well as your other supervisory objectives.

Be prepared for each discussion with an informal agenda. Do not “wing” the meetings, as it will look like you’re not taking your new job as supervisor seriously. Let them know your objective for the meeting and use your agenda as a guide to cover all your points.

Sample one-on-one discussion items may include: how you plan to supervise, where you can be hands off and where you may need to be more hands on, how often you want to meet, how best to communicate with you (in person, email, text, etc.), the strengths you recognize in the individual and how you want to best utilize those strengths, etc.

The first discussion is not the time to point out the individual’s weaknesses or performance issues and how you want to see them improve. This meeting is to set the stage for a successful partnering with each person considering your new role.

The elephant in the room is how to handle transitioning from friend to boss. Some people can handle this dual role effectively and other cannot. So, be up front and discuss how to remain friends while acknowledging that you cannot show favoritism at work and that you will be treating everyone as equally as possible.

You may also want to set ground rules for not discussing coworkers or work after hours, so that you’re creating a separation of your work/personal relationships. I also recommend discussing confidentiality. It’s likely you have confidential and/or personal information about your friends which shouldn’t be considered from a boss-employee perspective and the same applies to what private information they have about you. While these can be difficult discussions, it’s important to set communication standards, personal/professional boundaries, and to commit to taking your leadership responsibilities seriously.

Then recognize that some personal relationships may fall apart as a result of this change. Whether or not that occurs in your circumstance, make sure you’re consistent in how you interact, oversee, communicate with and lead all your employees. Everyone is watching to see how you begin your supervisory position and whether they can trust you in that role – to do your job well, be their voice with upper management and treat employees fairly and equitably.

©2016 Arlene Vernon

Supervising Smart Series

Time to sign up! The first of the 12 monthly sessions begins Tuesday, January 24th from 10:00 am – 12:00 pm.

Sessions will be held at Tierney Brothers’ brand new training facility at 1771 Energy Park Drive, St. Paul (the old the Saint Paul Saints location).

Click here for more detailson the 12 Supervising Smart Sessions and to start your registration.

Here’s the schedule:

  • 1/24/17 – Enhancing My Leadership Skills
  • 2/28/17 – Creating a Positive Workplace Culture
  • 3/28/17 – Communication Skills
  • 4/25/17 – Coaching and Giving Performance Feedback
  • 5/23/17 – Designing Solid Interview Questionnaires
  • 6/27/17 – Delegation and Accountability
  • 7/25/17 – Managing Difficult Employees
  • 8/22/17 – Employee Engagement
  • 9/26/17 – Employee Discipline and Documentation
  • 10/24/17 – Handling Employee Terminations
  • 11/28/17 – Building Effective Teams
  • 12/19/17 – Conflict Resolution

Fees: If you sign up for all 12 sessions at the cost of $700, you get 2 sessions free, saving $140. If you can’t make a session, feel free to send someone else in your place. Or share the sessions between several supervisors at your organization. You can also sign up for individual sessions at $70 per session.

I’m limiting the training to 50 registrations, so sign up soon and guarantee your spot!

Hope to see you there.

About Arlene Vernon

Arlene Vernon, PHR, partners with small businesses as their Human Resource Xpert to create their HR systems and solve their HR problems.

If you have gaps in your HR operation, have an employee problem to solve, or want to enhance your managers’ skills, call Arlene today. Learn
how HRx can save you time and help you avoid costly HR mistakes. HRx, Inc., 574 Prairie Center Drive #135/285, Eden Prairie, MN 55344, 952-996-0975,
www.HRxcellence.com.

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