There comes a time where all the hard work you’ve put in, the late nights, the early mornings, and all the weekends, finally pays off. You get offered a promotion. You feel that you have finally started to make a difference in your company and you are going up the ranks from the standard worker to a line manager or team leader, and it is great.
The challenges you will face now are completely different to your day-to-day ones in your old job, and this is where everything changes. So what is the difference, professionally and personally, between the old life and the new one? After all, a lot of people who make the change from worker to manager talk about the way people now view them, not as an equal anymore, but a “boss” or superior figure. What are the ways to overcome these hurdles?
Assess your new role
The best place to begin is to assess your own role as a leader. This can be done in different ways, from taking your team one by one to discuss with them the duties you now have to undertake, to your own sense of examination in how to better equip yourself in your new role. If you feel that you need to better equip yourself in taking on a new role where you are overseeing people rather than working side by side, it can be a bitter pill to swallow.
Speak to your HR department and see if there is additional training you can undertake, or you can speak to outsourced companies like Ellis Whittam which provide management training.
Use your knowledge
The difference in running a team is that you need a more acute sense of how you handle the staff, and this can be quite a transition, especially if you know that your team is capable of doing the work handed to them. You have the best perspective on the situation because you were once where they are.
A lack of empathy is something that workers often use as a reason for issues with their line manager, and this can create a gulf in working relationships. Staff members cite the notion of “do what I say, not as I do” and this is Ineffective Leading 101. So why don’t you use this skill? You understand the pressures faced by your department so you can use this to your advantage.
The peril in perspective of this ilk is that you can potentially try to maintain a sense of “I’m still one of you” mentality, and this is extremely dangerous for you and for your staff because this is not the case anymore. The quicker you realize this, the better it is for everyone.
Be a leader
You have to be a leader, and being a leader comes with personality traits that can be met with an affront by staff, or they can be digested and understood so you can all move on together. The best approach to take is to make each member of staff aware of what you expect of them and what they expect of you. It isn’t a one-way transaction, as you have responsibilities to your staff. A trait of feeling unsatisfactory towards your work in a menial role is because you have no worth in what your role entails, and this is a way to help staff members help grow with you. A member of staff needs to feel valued, and, again, the sense of perspective you can bring is a nugget of gold to encourage staff members to be part of a cog in a very important wheel.
Each person will then work with more productivity as you are clearly defining their role for them. Your role is, understandably, more complex than before. You need to be a leader, mediator, and confidante, as well as understand new processes and legislations, and these have to be switched on and off as and when needed. Your staff and you are symbiotic, and this is what will make your team a successful one.
The final point to make when it comes to being in charge of a group of people whom you once worked alongside is that these things all take time. You cannot expect people to accept your role overnight. Understanding that you will hit roadblocks along the way is part of the job, and you have been made a team leader because you are able to handle these snags. You need to maintain a sense of professionalism, and by following these ideas, you will work to improve your team, and more importantly, yourself in this new role.