Getting promoted is a great recognition of one’s skills and accomplishments. It comes with a new set of responsibilities that may dim – or add to — the excitement of taking over a new challenge, however. This requires the newly promoted person to hit the ground running to prove that the promotion was well deserved and to leave a renewed positive impression.
In the midst of trying to catch up with the new position’s additional requirements, the person, particularly if promoted to a managerial position, may overlook the human side of getting ahead of coworkers or perhaps becoming the boss of a group that once was a network for friends and coworkers. While paying attention to starting off on the right note and managing these relations right may not seem as important as getting big projects done correctly and on time, this is a pretty critical factor to success.
Here are a few points to keep in mind in managing your new position – and your new team.
Be sensitive to politics
If you have been picked from your team to be promoted to a leadership position, there may be one or two people who are not thrilled by this decision. They may think either they were, or someone else was, a better fit for the promotion. You should be conscious of how these grudges can influence their morale, performance and collaboration with you and with others. One strategy to get out of this awkward situation can be to just ignore it and hope it will sort itself out. This can backlash, however, if those who are not happy begin to sabotage the team morale or quit. That is why if you have any suspicion that negative reactions are serious and persisting, you need to have an open chat in a positive, constructive yet firm tone about how to move forward. Just bringing these problems to the table can make things better and show the other party that you care about working things out.
Making tough decisions
The higher you go up the corporate ladder, the more tough decisions you may have to make. These decisions may involve team members who were once your colleagues and friends. As distressing as this sometimes can be, it’s a good reminder of how you need to set clear boundaries in terms of your new job’s confidentiality. This also may mean that you may find yourself in a corner when some of your decisions are not popular and you get to deal with both the professional and personal sides of your relationships. The best route to take is to begin as early as possible with making these boundaries clear, and also demonstrating that none of your decisions should be taken personal.
Now you’re taking on a new challenge, you likely will be all enthusiastic about introducing change. This also may come with a temptation to criticize or tear apart the old ways of doing things. This approach is an express way to lose people around your team. Many people, like yourself, may have been part of the old team to some degree. In reality change is different than an overhaul, and you should keep in mind that the more you recognize the functioning areas that are in place, the more support you will be to garner on improving the rest. The trick is in introducing changes gradually based on constructive discussion of why they are necessary. To make any changes see the light, you need to expect resistance and be able to different personalities with different reactions and feelings.
Listen and give credit
Being open to listen to others’ feedback and suggestions is the best way to get a decent idea of what’s going on with your team. It is also a way to get creative ideas from people who are still relatively afar from the picture. The more you keep open communication with your team, the better you will be able to relay a realistic picture to your own superiors, as well. However, don’t overlook the importance of giving credit where it due – directly and indirectly. You will be doing yourself a disservice if you take credit for someone else’s thinking or work. In addition, filter pretty well any tips or advise you get to make sure no one is leading you in the wrong direction.
Rania Oteify, a former Gulf News Business Features Editor, is currently an editor based in Seattle.