You received the good news, you are being promoted to a higher position. It means a higher salary, new responsibilities, more power, and a new title. But if the career boost means you will be managing your former teammates, it becomes tricky and sometimes complicated.
Let me cite my own experience when I got promoted.
Two years ago, I got promoted to a senior pharmacist. It was indeed good news to me. I have been waiting for it for so long, and at last, I finally got it. It was a hard decision for the management as they are torn between me and my teammate Angela. She has been in the company for many years. We shared the same office, and we traveled a lot together for business purposes. Then suddenly our boss promoted me.
Angela was frustrated. When it came to tenure with the company, she was eligible for the promotion, and she was expecting it. But this was my first lesson as a manager, how to work things with an upset employee.
I have done everything to prove that I am worthy of the position. I worked hard and studied at home on how to supervise people better. I wanted to do things right. I also talked to her personally to ease her frustration and brought back our teamwork. But she decided to leave the company due to certain reasons.
Some of your teammates may accept the promotion with open arms and would congratulate you. But, some who may be aiming for the position given to you might feel different. There can be lots of emotions involved.
So, what would you do if you are in the situation?
Now that you are in your new role, you need to think of something to align yourself with the team. This article is a combination of my real-life experience and some experts’ advice on how to align yourself and ease the transition with your former peers.
But first, let’s talk about the importance of aligning yourself with your team.
The Significance of Aligning Yourself with the Team
It is not only the top executives of the company that will benefit from this. Getting on the same page with your subordinates have greater benefits:
- Better relationships with the employees
- It will boost your chance of getting the resources you need for your projects.
- You will have more time for your non-management roles.
If your team is aligned, you can have more time to work on projects that only you can do.
For instance, you are an engineer who handles engineers. You can work on more complicated tasks and let them do the other functions. If you manage a team of marketers, you can focus on planning and formulating a long-term strategy while the other marketers do the promotion.
After the promotion, this should be your number one goal. Your problem is how to align yourself with your teammates.
Here are some solutions that can help you deal with your teammates when you got promoted.
- Talk to Your Coworkers
Accept the fact that not all will agree with your promotion. Some of your former teammates might feel that there is injustice, especially if they are older and more experienced. But, you cannot control the decision of the management.
Addressing their feelings directly might worsen the situation. Good thing, there are things that you can do to ease the situation.
Talking to them all at once is not a good idea. Some might hide their real feelings as they do not want other members to find out how they feel about your promotions. Meeting with them one by one is the best way to do it, so they can tell you honestly what they feel without humiliating themselves in front of others.
During my promotion, I was too eager to discuss everything with my team. So, I set a group meeting right away. I was not aware that Angela was not comfortable with my promotion. If I would have talked to them one by one, Angela could have opened up to me and dealt with her frustrations. But it was too late; she decided to leave the company.
Our bond/connection is separate and work is separate – I am just a catalyst to the team’s mission
I have no personal issues with you – I trust you with your work, its just that company policy demands this
Here are tips on how to talk with your coworkers and samples of questions you can ask them:
Tip #1 – Do not discuss feelings
You already know that someone is frustrated about your promotion, so make sure not to worsen their feelings. Talking about their anger or frustration of not being promoted can lead to hurtful words like “I am more qualified than you” or “I perform better than you.”
If you try to defend yourself, the situation might heat up, and you might unintentionally say something terrible.
You can ask about their frustrations but make sure to deal with them professionally. Try to comfort them, and slowly explain your side. Use the right words.
Once you get over it, divert your discussion into how you can work together smoothly, just like when you are teammates. Focus on explaining your new role as a manager and move the conversation forward.
Tip #2 – Talk about your objectives and plans
Talk about your plans. Make them feel that their contribution is essential. Sometimes they feel worthless when they do not get the promotion. But if you make them feel that they are still an asset to the company, they may direct their energy on being more productive to prove their worth.
Keep in mind, you were promoted to accomplish specific goals, and you need to achieve them.
Tip #3 – Ask about their dreams and career aspirations
They might not be able to get promoted at present, but it does not mean that they will not work hard. If they are good, they will get a promotion in the future.
Discuss their career aspirations and what they enjoy doing. Find out more about your employees and their wants so you can deal with them accordingly.
Tip #4 – Talk about their career goals and plans
You are now their manager, which means you can help your employees grow and develop. Ask them about their plans and career goals. From here, you can let them work on tasks they can excel in.
Remember, you have to do this one-on-one and not as a group.
- Maintain the closeness but ensure you know when to distance yourself
A team may comprise of five or more individuals. Because you have been working and being in the same team for many years, you have become friends. According to Gallup, 20% of US employees said they found their best friend at work.
If one of you gets promoted, what will happen to the friendship you have established for years? If you are the one who got the promotion, it is best not to let go of the closeness. But, you should know your limitations. Also, your teammates should know when to get too close to you and when to distance themselves.
How to keep the distance without hurting your teammates’ feelings?
Accept the fact that you will be a step forward in your team once you got the promotion. You will make decisions, give orders, and speak for them in your department.
Therefore, you need to cut on some old traditions the team used to do to make the mental transition.
Buddying with your subordinates may send negative vibes to other employees. It would be best if you distance yourself from them but make sure you do it in a way that will not hurt their feelings.
If, in the past, you talk to them about sensitive things in the office like the problems in the managerial staff, issues involving another employee, and others, now you need to be careful on commenting. You have to be neutral.
Disengage from casual conversations
If they invite you to have lunch with them, you can say no and make excuses. It is not because you don’t want to be with them because you are the manager now. It’s because you have to disengage yourself from casual convos, which might cause problems in the future.
If your bosses see you having a casual conversation with your subordinates, they might get suspicious of your action. Now that you hold a significant position in your office, be careful with your actions.
Even if your best friend works under you, it is best to show equal respect to all your subordinates and not show favoritism. It does not mean that you cannot laugh and have fun with them. Just be careful not to show bias and be professional at all times.
- Ask for support and be optimistic.
You will not be promoted if your team is not doing well. You owe your team a lot. Asking their support can help make your transition easy and worry-free. Listen to your team’s ideas and suggestions. You can ask for advice if you need one, but it is your job to decide and lead the team.
Be careful when deciding as everything lies on it. Remember, your subordinates depend a lot on you.
You would not be promoted as a manager if you didn’t have the experience and skills. It is your time to help the other employees develop their skills to become better and get promoted someday. Use your knowledge during complicated situations.
Equally delegating the task can help you align with your teammates. Trusting your coworkers can boost their confidence.
One of your teammates may get frustrated with your promotion, but things may turn out better. In the end, your coworkers will accept your promotion and will support your leadership. You should find the balance between friendship and professional life.
Getting promoted over your teammate is an uncomfortable and awkward situation. Having clear communication with your subordinates is a must. Make sure that you show respect and care and treat them equally without favoritism.