The tendency to want to hold on to what’s familiar in a relationship is normal, so your transition from co-worker to boss can be a bit bumpy. Both you and your former co-workers may find it difficult to adjust to your new role. However, you can pave the way to success if you prepare yourself and your peers in advance.
Realize Relationships Must Change
When you become a boss, you can still be friendly with your ex co-workers, but you have to subtly separate yourself from the pack. If you don’t, pitfalls can occur. For example, because of your friendship, subordinates may expect you to share information that’s best kept at management level. Recognize that you are now a leader, and you must strive to act like one at all times. This doesn’t mean that you should treat those who report to you with disrespect. It means that you need to adhere to the expectations and job duties assigned to you as a manager.
State Your Expectations
Meet with your former co-workers as soon as possible and establish the ground rules of your relationship. Let them know what your job duties are and how you plan to fulfill them. Tell them what you expect from them in return. If it helps, frame your speech in a similar manner to the following: “My job as your manager is to advise you, monitor your performance and give my assistance as needed. I expect you to give 100 percent to your job and respect me in my role as your new manager. While many of us are friends and can continue to be, friendship has no leverage in our new relationship. Instead, I will strive to treat everyone equally and with the same amount of respect.”
Treat Everyone Equally
For instance, if a former co-worker, who happens to be a close friend, needs disciplinary action, it’s important to put friendship aside and deal with the situation professionally as boss and subordinate. Even if you’re tempted to be lenient with your close friend, don’t do it. Instead, treat the employee as you would treat another employee with whom you are not friends. If there is an employee you didn’t particularly like before you became the boss, do not use your position as an opportunity to act out your negative feelings. Instead, act according to company policies and guidelines.
Seek Different Relationships
Now that you’re in management, seek out professional relationships with other managers. When you need advice, go to someone who is on the same professional level or above. Make an effort to create professional and friendly relationships between yourself and other upper-level employees. If you don’t, you risk being caught in limbo between your old role and your new one, which can result in dissatisfaction.
If you’re used to hanging out with your previous co-workers after hours, you can continue to do so. However, focus on nonwork topics of conversation. If you attend a happy hour with your ex co-workers, have a minimum of drinks and leave before everyone else to avoid being sucked into a conversation that can cause you to be uncomfortable or reveal confidential information. When people drink, inhibitions are lowered and poor judgment can result.
- Society for Human Resource Management: Employee Relations.
- Star Tribune: From Co-Worker to Boss
- The Wall Street Journal: When a Co-Worker Becomes the Boss
- Harvard Business Review: Making the Shift From Peer to Boss
Based in Texas, Cynthia Measom has been writing various parenting, business and finance and education articles since 2011. Her articles have appeared on websites such as The Bump and Motley Fool. Measom received a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Texas at Austin.
Earlier this year and out of the blue (to me, at least), my colleague was promoted to VP level. She was older and more experienced, but I had been working at our company longer. Not to mention, I certainly felt like I had brought just as much value. So when she was promoted over me—well, I’d like to say that I was bummed, but that would be an understatement. I was pissed.
Take it from me—when you’re passed over for a promotion and your former colleague suddenly becomes your boss, it’s pretty painful. But, assuming you want to keep your job, you’re going to have to move forward. And the first step is having conversations with these three people involved.
First and foremost, get adult with yourself. There’s probably a reason you didn’t get the promotion, and you need to be honest about why that is. You’ll also need to work through any feelings of jealousy or anger, so you can continue doing your job, and doing it well.
In my case, long before any promotions were on the table, I chose to leave the city where my job was located and work remotely. And while my company graciously agreed, it also ended up being a sacrifice for my career. Not only was I considered to be not as serious about my job, but I was often (sometimes unintentionally) cut out of important conversations. And I realized that, without face-to-face contact, I would never be promoted within the context and culture of that company.
I also realized I was so upset because my colleague was the one person who had kept me grounded and informed from miles away. Not only did I view her promotion as adding another layer of bureaucracy to our department, but I also felt like I was losing a friend. Who would be my eyes and ears for the latest office gossip? Who would I simultaneously complain to and celebrate successes with if we weren’t on equal ground?
Once I was honest with myself about these factors, and had taken the time to think through why I was so angry, I could have the next two conversations—and in a calm, collected way.
2. The Decision Maker
Next, it’s time to tell whoever promoted your colleague that you’re good with the decision. Hearing the news that someone else has been promoted over you is difficult to accept, but you still need to respond with respect and support. Relay that you are happy for your colleague and are looking forward to working for her, even if you’re dying inside. Be the good sport.
That said, it’s OK to ask for feedback as to why you didn’t get the position. Just keep the conversation focused on you, asking questions like, “What should I be working on to be eligible for a promotion in the future?” While it’s totally okay (and only natural) to express your disappointment that you didn’t get the job, don’t argue or try to explain why your colleague shouldn’t have. Not only will you insult the decision maker’s judgment, but you won’t exactly come across as a team player. If you act like a brat, you’re just begging to be let go.
3. Your Former Colleague, Now Boss
Finally, have a heart-to-heart with your colleague. This will be tough, but try to let go of your ego and congratulate her. Your new boss should know that you’re totally stoked for her advancement and are looking forward to working together in a new capacity—after all, she is now your boss.
Then, set up some time to talk about how you will communicate going forward and how to manage your new roles. While this might be a little awkward, she likely wants to talk about it, too, and she’ll be grateful that you took the first step.
And, honestly, having worked together as colleagues actually made my relationship with my new boss better. While I was worried our conversations as peers would come back to haunt me, she used those discussions to better her role as a manager. She knew I appreciated feedback from my old managers, so she always made sure to encourage my ideas and work. She understood it was difficult for me to stay in touch, and continued to give me the details on office politics.
Ultimately, it was my existing good relationship with my colleague that led me to accept her as my new boss. I knew the situation was just as awkward for her, and I didn’t want to make the transition worse. Plus, she deserved the promotion—and I even came to realize she deserved it more than I did. Whatever feelings of anger and envy I had, I channeled into learning how to improve and grow in my own career.
Of course, not every situation works out so easily. But you can make the process easier on everyone, particularly yourself, by showing respect and support, remaining open and honest, and continuing to do phenomenal work.
I’ve never been much of a brown-noser — just not my style, so I’d rather employ a list of tactics that folks around work will appreciate and that will help keep me happier, as well.
(If this article resonates with you, I hope you’ll “Recommend” it by tapping the green heart at the end.)
Here they are:
- Show up excited and eager to learn every day. Show your boss that you’re hungry to be better than you were yesterday. They’ll notice, even if thru can’t put their finger on it. My personal rule? I can’t leave work until I’ve learned or tried one new thing and made note of it in a journal. Think about it – at the end of the year, you’ll be a lot smarter, while also becoming more open to trying new things, which will lead to new possibilities and perspectives.
- Notice People: One of the easiest ways to feel better about your self, is to do something nice for someone else. Here, an example of the lowest hanging fruit would be offering unsolicited and unexpected compliments. You’ll feel better and so will they. Not convinced? Google 'Mirror Neurons’.
- There’s a reason for the old saying, 'patience is a virtue’, because it’s hard as hell at times. Trust the process and when life knocks you down today, use tomorrow as a fresh start. Put in the time and the effort and remember – nothing happens over night. So, just keep your head up, keep plugging along – good things are right around the corner. Patience is such an attractive trait, because it shows that you have confidence in how things will play out in the end.
- Stop Mailing it in. As a restaurant guy, I’ve seen and experienced so many seasoned waitresses and line cooks thus far in my career, who are just stuck. They show up, do a decent job every day, but that’s it. They go home take a shower go to bed, and do the same thing the next day. These guys never really go anywhere, and are often blood-sucking vampires for company culture. As David Chang has said, ‘LIFE’S TOO SHORT TO BE MEDIOCRE AT ANYTHING.’
- Carry a journal or bound notebook around with you at work. In a curious way, people will wonder what the hell you’re up to when you scribble a quick note from a good idea that popped into your head. And . How many times have you lost an idea in your head? Write it down and you’ll instantly become more productive with a lot more ideas to bring to the table come brainstorming time.
- Demand Responsibility. No, that doesn’t mean asking for the executive chef job or to take over for your boss, but it does mean stepping out on a limb. Tell the boss you want to start helping with food costs, inventory, or you want to brainstorm for upcoming specials. Often it seems to help, if you plant the seed, bring it up a few days later and whoever is making the decision, is convinced that they brilliantly came up with this idea.
- Offer to go above and beyond to show your immense desire to be successful. If you care deeply for the craft that you’ve decided to make a career out of – act like it. In restaurants, you can teach the cooking side of the business, but the soul side, the human piece of it and the passion, that’s a different story.
- Take Risks (Calculated): No, I’m not suggesting you rewrite the recipe for the house made pasta that is a signature item, or change an important procedure on a whim, but I am suggesting you take initiative – think through how certain dishes could be finished or plated differently. Tell the chef that you’d like to go to the farmer’s market to get some exotic vegetables. then have a couple plans or ideas for what the restaurant can do with them if he agrees.
- Give to your coworkers without expecting anything in return – that's what it means to be generous, and the lack of having expectations keeps you from growing frustrated and disappointed, when they aren't met. Prep someone's station. Grab a pack of Red Bulls or Starbucks for the crew on your way in. Drive the dishwasher home. Offer to close for someone having a bad day, then see if there is anything else you can do to make them feel better. Nobody gets sick of people being generous, just be sincere about it. When it is sincere, it tends to come back to the giver many times over.
- Stop complaining about things you have no control over. Wow, does this seem so obvious, but I'm guilty as charged, and I bet you are too. All this does is drain our energy, plus we become less attractive to our coworkers and bosses. On the flip side, if yours able
Meetings are intended to allow employees and work teams engage in planning, reviewing and working through activities. However, some meetings can become combative when people have different perspectives. In some cases, another person may attack you personally or with an aggressive tone. Remaining calm and professional helps in the communication and projects a positive image to those involved.
The first step in effectively dealing with attacks in most settings is remaining calm. In a meeting, remaining calm helps you keep control of your emotions, the things you say and the situation. You can more easily pick out the things the other person says, strategize effective responses and even recognize when walking away from a discussion is best. If a colleague says “You don’t have enough experience to have an opinion on this situation,” you could say something like “I appreciate your desire for quality results here. I’d be happy to expand on why my point contributes to that.” Your calm response also projects huge levels of confidence and professionalism to those around you.
Separate Words from Emotion
Typically, people become combative in meetings when they feel words alone won’t convey the strength of their convictions. If you can calmly listen even when someone else is angry, you can potentially separate the message from the emotion. This approach allows you to still hear the perspective, concerns or ideas of the other party. When you respond, you can acknowledge the message without matching the aggressive tone. For instance, you could say “I definitely can tell you are passionate about your idea, Jeff, and, despite your anger, I did manage to make sense of your point of view. If we can focus on that, we can probably make progress.”
Listen and Confront
One of the best ways to avoid attacks and handle them when they occur is listening and confronting conflicts or differences as they come up. Aside from obvious anger-management issues, a series of personal disagreements or slights can contribute to someone becoming frustrated during a meeting. If you bring up differences and openly discuss concerns as they come up — not once they have come to a head in a meeting — you avoid emotional buildup and the potential for personal attacks.
Handling Extreme Cases
Extreme cases when a co-worker or supervisor gets abusive, threatening or overly aggressive may dictate additional responses. The American Psychological Association noted on its website that talking with a psychologist may help when you struggle to deal with workplace confrontation. In some situations, you may need to report a co-worker to your boss or report your boss to a higher-up if he is the abusive one. Ideally, you meet with the offending person first to express your concerns and intentions because you could step on toes. However, you have a right to mental, emotional and physical safety at work.
- Forbes: Co-Worker Sabotage! How One Savvy Professional Turned a Dirty Trick Around
- Mind Tools: Dealing with Unfair Criticism
- American Psychological Association: Managing Your Boss
- Chicago Tribune: When Should You Tell Your Boss About a Coworker’s Inappropriate Office Behavior?
Neil Kokemuller has been an active business, finance and education writer and content media website developer since 2007. He has been a college marketing professor since 2004. Kokemuller has additional professional experience in marketing, retail and small business. He holds a Master of Business Administration from Iowa State University.
Managing your job description may be easy but maintaining your status as one who keeps the job rolling could be a challenge, mostly if the understanding you have with your boss is not breezy. Inasmuch as perfection remains an overrated word when it comes to human, the assignment to establishing a good working relationship is more on the employee. Yes, to be fired is only a decision.
As an employee, all the contributions you are to make are only to make your boss successful. If you fail to deliver, your boss has failed. You may get the pressures the wrong way or suffer the wrong side of your boss but there are tips on how you can make yourself the best employee for your boss.
1) Have the right attitudes
Looking towards a good relationship with your boss when you don’t have the right attitudes for your job function is like presenting “my little pony” to a blind man. Yes, your boss doesn’t notice you at all in the category you are probably trying to present if your attitudes don’t support his success. You must be energetic and ready to attack your task. Avoid seeing your job as something boring and don’t drag your feet. No matter what, excuses should not be a part of you. You also must be efficient; be capable and go a long way to elucidate your competency.
Results are necessary and can’t be compromised. In that sense you must strive to complete your task within the minimum time as possible. Be a professional. While you strive to finish your job in time, doing them excellently should be your priority. Your efficiency and energy would amount to nothing if the jobs you have completed are not useful or requires a lot of corrections. Be early and dress reasonably to work and avoid wasting your productive time outside your office.
2) Know your boss
A little girl of about 8 years old fainted at school while performing gymnastic; she was rushed to the school clinic and was already awake before the doctor could attend to her. The doctor looked at her and simply asked; have you eaten? No, she replied and a meal revived her completely. Without getting to know all she needed was a meal, she would have probably taken many injections and perhaps go through a more complex therapy to keep her fit. All that the doctor needed was to see her expression and asking the right question. It’s important to know the report format that your boss values most, written, PowerPoint presentations, spreadsheets or verbal reports.
3) Understand your boss’ goals
Without knowing what your boss wishes to achieve, it’s very much impossible to support the achievement. Asking would not completely be a bad decision; may be in your one-on-one meetings. It would give you an edge to develop a better strategy on how to arrive at the goal.
4) Always communicate with your boss
It’s a very bad idea to want to surprise your boss with a job function. What if something goes wrong? Can you handle all that? Informing your boss helps him/her to get prepared for any outcome. You definitely need your boss’ support and possibly an advice, which is exactly what you want. Isn’t it? A good relationship is communication-driven.
5) Keep up your maturity
There are questions you may need to ask your colleagues and not your boss. Like where to find a pen, where to find health insurance, etc. One-on-one times with your boss should be work related that requires his contribution. Don’t wait for your boss to spoon-feed you because you are new or something.
6) Meet or beat deadlines
You must work hard to finish any assignment within the stipulated time frame. Also, beating the deadline is very fantastic and will definitely increase your reputation at the office. Don’t sit and wait for deadlines before you start rushing the job. Yes, sometimes you may have multiple tasks and would be busy with another task issued by the boss, but remind him/her of the one running out so that you would be allowed to finish with the most pressing task first.
7) Be a part of solution
Your job description may not offer solutions to every task within your desk, instead of sitting down to allow a function not properly done by another department to ruin your task, see that it synchronize in such a way that it doesn’t. Don’t go to complain if it’s something you can simply handle. You’d be eventually asked to handle it, by that time you’ve presented yourself as someone that’s bringing problems you can easily handle.
8) Avoid Gossip
Every office must present a group of persons who are always spreading news within the office. If you are in that group, forget a good relationship with your boss. Your boss can’t discuss what he doesn’t want everyone to know and that limits your relationship, keeping you below his/her best employees. Stay very far away from gossips and don’t pay good attention to such. You are at the office to be productive and not to spread the news.
9) Do what you say and say what you do
Your boss already has a lot of job on his/her desk. So, if you have promised to do a part, don’t fail to complete it. It may be a task outside your job description but believe me, promising you would get it done and not doing it would place your boss in a corner you can’t imagine. It may be a task required to be completed before another. Your value dies out when the task is due and your promise is not fulfilled.
10) Ask for honest reviews
It’s important to ask for honest reviews from your boss or colleagues. This will help you understand the areas you lack professionalism. Of course, you should continue to improve, don’t relax even when you have become the best employee.
Employee to Boss about Indecent Behaviour of Colleague
If you want to work smoothly and full peace of mind, you must cooperate with your co-workers. If you don’t cooperate with your colleagues, you will be left alone, and no one will be there for you to help you. At times, you get so difficult colleagues that it becomes next to impossible for you to cooperate with them.
For instance, some colleagues behave so badly that we do not want to work with them or talk to them about any matter. However, our job necessitates it for us to deal with such employees also. When an employee is acting indecent and his behavior is bothering you, you will not be able to tolerate him for an indefinite time. In that situation, you should speak to your boss about him.
Things to remember while writing to the boss about the colleague:
Writing to the boss is sometimes the hardest thing one has to contend with. You need to be wise enough in terms of choice of words to be able to convey your problem appropriately. When you are writing about someone working with you in the same organization, you need to be more cautious so that it does not convey a message that you are involved in a kind of a cold war with your co-worker as it will not make a good impression on your boss. Here are a few things that must be remembered while writing to the boss about the co-worker who does not act decently:
Define your problem:
The first foremost thing that you should convey to your boss is your problem. Your problem is the main reason why you are compelled to write this letter. If you can define your problem issue well, you will be able to justify writing this letter to your boss. Additionally, your employer will be able to understand the seriousness of the issue when you define the problem effectively.
Talk about your colleague’s behaviour:
After mentioning the problem, tell your employer that your colleague is the cause of the problem. You should discuss your colleague in such a way that you can show that you do not hold any grudge for him and that you are positive towards everyone.
Tell your employer what you want:
At the end of the letter, tell your boss what you want him to do for you. Make a formal request to resolve the issue as soon as possible. You can also leave the decision to your boss instead of giving him a suggestion.
Name of employee,
Designation of the employee in the company
Address of the employee
Subject: Complaint about indecent behaviour of the colleague
I am writing this letter because I want to report a conflict that occurred between me and Mr. Johnson. Mr. Johnson is my co-worker in the finance department of the company. Mr. Johnson has been behaving so rudely but I kept ignoring him as much as I could. Now, I feel that it is the right time to file a complaint against him.
At times, Mr. Johnson acts in such an indecent manner that it really annoys me and other fellows. Yesterday, I was talking to one of my clients over the phone when Mr. Johnson not only interrupted the phone call but also passed very gross remarks. Due to this, I hung up the phone and my deal with a client that was in the process got canceled. After hanging up the phone, I politely asked Mr. Johnson to not behave like this again. This infuriated him and he started shouting at him.
I cannot tolerate this behavior of Mr. Johnson anymore. I would like to request you to either send me to the other department where I do not have to put up with the indecent behavior of him or transfer him to some other department.
I feel that I am unable to work as I used to work earlier because the dispute with Mr. Johnson has really upset me. I would request you to resolve this issue as soon as possible. Looking forward to your cooperation and understanding.
Legal Guidelines Exist That You Need to Know to Define a Hostile Workplace
Susan Heathfield is an HR and management consultant with an MS degree. She has decades of experience writing about human resources.
What constitutes a hostile work environment? Some employees believe that a bad boss, an unpleasant work environment, a rude coworker, failure to qualify for a promotion, a lack of teamwork, or the lack of perks, privileges, benefits, and recognition can create a hostile work environment.
And, yes, admittedly, many of these issues do contribute to an environment that may not be especially friendly or supportive of employees. The environment without employee-friendly offerings can be awful. A bad boss contributes particularly to an environment that employees may see as hostile.
Traditionally, bad managers took the brunt of the blame when employees quit their job. According to a Gallup survey, 67% of U.S. employees are disengaged at work, 51% say they’re actively looking for a new job or are open to one, and 47% say now is a good time to find a quality job. Moreover, Gallup’s data says that 70% of the variance in employee engagement is due to the environment provided by the manager.
According to SHRM, a lack of career development and opportunity is the largest contributor to employees quitting their job.
But, all of these factors (or the lack thereof) can make an environment seem hostile to an employee's wants and needs. And, they frequently are depending on what the employee most needs.
Requirements for a Hostile Work Environment
But, the reality is that for a workplace to be hostile, certain legal criteria must be met.
A hostile work environment is created by a boss or coworker whose actions, communication, or behavior make doing your job impossible. This means that the behavior altered the terms, conditions, and/or reasonable expectations of a comfortable work environment for employees.
Additionally, the behavior, actions, or communication must be discriminatory in nature. Discrimination is monitored and guided by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) which was created by the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
A hostile work environment claim is a workplace discrimination claim under federal law. The person complaining must prove they were discriminated against based on race, gender, color, religion, sexual orientation, ancestry, national origin, pregnancy, age, or disability, and that the actions must have been pervasive and severe enough to be considered abusive.
So, a coworker who talks loudly, snaps their gum, and leans over your desk when they talk with you, is demonstrating inappropriate, rude, obnoxious behavior, but it does not create a legally defined hostile work environment. On the other hand, a coworker who tells sexually explicit jokes and sends around images of nude people is guilty of sexual harassment and creating a hostile work environment.
A boss who verbally berates you about your age, your religion, your gender, or your race is guilty of creating a hostile work environment. Even if the comments are casual, said with a smile, or played as jokes, this does not excuse the situation.
This is especially true if you asked the individual to stop and the behavior continues. This, by the way, is always the first step in addressing inappropriate behavior at work—ask the inappropriately behaving boss or coworker to stop.
Legal Requirements for a Hostile Environment
In addition to the legal requirements for a hostile work environment described above, here is additional information about each factor.
- The actions or behavior must discriminate against a protected classification such as age, religion, disability, or race.
- The behavior or communication must be pervasive, lasting over time, and not limited to an off-color remark or two that a coworker found annoying. These incidents should be reported to Human Resources for needed intervention.
- The problem becomes significant and pervasive if it is all around a worker, and continues over time, and is not investigated and addressed effectively enough by the organization to make the behavior stop.
- The hostile behavior, actions, or communication must be severe. Not only is it pervasive over time, but the hostility must seriously disrupt the employee’s work or ability to work. The second form of severity occurs if the hostile work environment interferes with an employee’s career progress. For example, the employee failed to receive a promotion or a job rotation as a result of the hostile behavior.
- It is reasonable to assume that the employer knew about the actions or behavior and did not sufficiently intervene. Consequently, the employer can be liable for the creation of a hostile work environment.
Dealing With a Hostile Work Environment
Put the Employee on Notice
The first step an employee needs to take if he or she is experiencing a hostile work environment is to ask the offending employee to stop their behavior or communication. If an employee finds this difficult to do on his or her own, they should solicit help from a manager or Human Resources.
When inappropriate behavior is coming from another employee, they are your best in-house resources. They also serve as your witness to the fact that you asked the offending employee to stop the behavior.
You want to put the offending employee on notice that their behavior is offensive, discriminatory, inappropriate, and that you won't tolerate the behavior. (In the majority of cases, the employee will stop the behavior. They may not have realized the degree to which you found the actions offensive.)
Additional Resources to Consult Before Taking Action
These resources will help you address a hostile work environment before the hostility escalates. You can pick between:
Ever thought about becoming a manager? Want to know what it takes and how to move up from your individual contributor role?
Becoming a manager opens a whole new world of opportunity. With the right mindset and skills, you’ll find it is interesting, challenging, and rewarding.
It also comes with new responsibility and usually higher pay (which is always nice!).
Whether you just started thinking about becoming a manager, or have known you’ve wanted to be one for a while, we’re here to help you.
Problem: How do you get hired to do something you’ve never done before?
Unfortunately, becoming a manager is not the easiest career step. Especially for roles like management, most companies only want to hire people who already have experience.
What then are you supposed to do.
At Lighthouse, we’ve covered a wide variety of management topics, including what to look for in potential leaders and how to help new managers succeed.
With that research and experience, we know what most managers are looking for when they work to identify new leaders to promote.
Solution: Show you’d be a great manager
You might not have management experience yet, but you can position yourself so that you’re seen as an ideal candidate for the next management position that opens up. And if you do that, you’ll also be setting yourself up to be a great manager in the process.
Below is a breakdown of what we’ll be covering today, so you can explore the sections most meaningful to you.
Table of contents:
First, let’s talk about how to become a manager, including tips for getting noticed and how to develop yourself into a good leader.
The good news: There are certain qualities that any good manager or CEO knows to look for in a potential manager.
This means you can work to develop and display these qualities to get noticed and be ready to lead well when given the opportunity, whether at your current company, or your next one.
And in the next section (Part 2), we’ll talk about tips for getting off on the right foot as a new manager.
But first, here are 5 tips to help you get noticed and start developing yourself into a future manager:
1) Make sure you’re becoming a manager for the right reasons (it matters, read on)
Becoming a manager requires the willingness to learn new things– a lot of new things– and be challenged. It’s a career change as much as it is a promotion, so make sure that becoming a manager is what you really want.
There are a lot of reasons you might want to be a manager, but only some of them are good reasons. If you’re not careful, you can end up in a job you don’t like. Consider carefully these reasons, so you make the right decision.
1. You’re doing it for the challenge of helping others and learning new skills, NOT the money
Managers who take the position for the money tend to run into a variety of problems and eventually fail.
First, they often keep doing their old job, instead of embracing the responsibilities and tasks of being a manager.
Then, as they struggle, they bring a bad attitude to their team that over time that makes everyone else unhappy, too. As things get worse, they then hide from problems that could eventually result in them losing their position (and the money they thought they wanted).
There’s nothing wrong with liking the pay boost. However, your main reasoning for wanting to become a manager needs to be something deeper.
Good reasons to become a manager include the desire for growth, challenge, or simply the fulfillment you get from the taking on new responsibilities or from building up and helping others.
2. You like working with & helping people
Being a manager is all about working with others and supporting them. If you love working with others, you’re a natural fit for management. If not, it’s probably not right for you as you’ll run away from the moments you’re needed most and your team is trying to reach you.
When people take management roles without the desire to help, collaborate, and help fix problems within a team, they’re setting themselves up to fail. A manager that runs from these things can make people feel betrayed; they don’t know who to turn to for help, and then problems fester and create management debt.
Other people’s problems become things you have to think about if you want to be a manager. You won’t get to solve them all, but you will have to want to understand them so you can help where you should.
3. You’re willing to give up being an individual contributor
To be a good manager, you need to shift from being an individual contributor to someone who focuses on how they can improve their team. At the core, you become a multiplier (more on this later).
This is a critical mindset shift as it’s the difference between an extra hour of productivity here and there for you vs. dozens of hours for your team.
Each time you focus on making your team more effective can lead to exponential results because you’re dealing with an entire team of people, instead of your own individual output only.
4. You have a growth mindset
A growth mindset is critical to becoming a manager. You have to believe that you (and others) can learn new skills, even if you’re starting from scratch. No one is a natural; everyone can achieve some level of ability with hard work.
There’s a lot to learn when shifting from IC work to being someone whose entire focus is making a team work more effectively.
If you don’t have a growth mindset, it’s going to be impossible to learn everything you need to know to do your job well. While great managers roll up their sleeves and learn, you’ll be thinking, “I’m just not good at ____.” This will hold you and your team back from the success they could have.
Most importantly, as a leader, you also influence the rest of your team. If you’re not willing to learn and grow, your team will take the cue and be less likely to embrace learning as well. You will also then limit their careers, as you will only give them work they’re experienced in, instead of coaching them as they conquer new challenges.
5. You love your job
Engagement plays a huge role in workplace productivity and retention. If you don’t enjoy your job, you’ll have a hard time performing at a high level.
If you don’t like your job or the company you work at, you should not become a manager there. It will only make things worse for you and your team.
Unfortunately, this is a common problem, which is called the “cascade effect” by Gallup:
Professionalism is defined as an individual's conduct at work. In spite of the word's root, this quality is not restricted to what we describe as "the professions," which are typically careers that require a lot of education and have high earnings associated with them. Many cashiers, maintenance workers, and waitresses can demonstrate a high level of this trait, although these occupations require minimal training and employees have modest earnings. An equal number of doctors, lawyers, and engineers—often called professionals—can display very little.
You may wonder if anyone will even notice if you don't demonstrate professional behavior at work. As long as you do your job well, who cares? It turns out your boss, customers, and co-workers do. They will notice if you lack this quality and it could have severe consequences for your career. To discount the importance of professionalism would be a big mistake. It can affect your chances for advancement or even the ability to keep your job.
How can you show your professionalism? Follow these dos and don'ts:
Make It a Priority to Be on Time
When you arrive late for work or meetings, it gives your boss and co-workers the impression you don't care about your job and, if it affects them, it's like saying you don't value their time. Pay attention to the clock. Set alarms if you have to. Show up at least a few minutes before you are supposed to start work and return from your breaks on time.
Don't Be a Grump
Leave your bad mood at the door when you come to work. We all have days when we aren’t feeling our best. Remember not to take it out on your boss, your co-workers, and especially your customers. If work is the thing that is causing your bad mood, it may be time to think about quitting your job.
If that isn't a good option for you right now, find a way to make the best of the situation until it is.
Whether you have to dress up for work or you can wear more casual clothes, your appearance should always be neat and clean. A wrinkled suit looks no better than a ripped pair of jeans does.
Choose the type of clothing your employer requires. If there isn't a dress code, pick attire that is the norm for your place of employment.
Save flip-flops, shorts, and tank tops for the weekends, along with clothes that are better suited for a night out at a club.
Watch Your Mouth
Swearing, cursing, or cussing—whatever you call it—has no place in most workplaces. Unless you know it is okay in yours, refrain from using foul language, particularly if those who you might offend are present. Here's a good rule of thumb to follow: If you wouldn't say it to your grandmother, don't say it at work.
Offer Assistance to Your Colleagues
A true professional is willing to help their co-workers when they are overburdened or facing a challenge at work. They aren't afraid to share knowledge, opinions, or simply an extra pair of hands. One person's success reflects well on everyone in their workplace.
It is important not to be too pushy, however. If your colleague rejects your offer, don't push it. They may prefer to work alone.
While you may be tempted to tell your cubicle neighbors what you heard about Suzy or Sam down in accounting, gossiping makes you look like a middle school student. If you know something you simply must share, tell someone who has nothing to do with your workplace, like your sister, mother, or best friend.
Try to Stay Positive
Negativity is contagious. If you complain incessantly about your workplace, it will bring others down. Your boss certainly will not appreciate a drop in morale among their employees. That does not mean you shouldn’t speak up about things you think are wrong. If you see something that should be fixed, give your boss feedback along with a plan for how to make improvements. If you are just complaining for no reason, stop.
Don't Hide From Your Mistakes
As hard as it may be to do, own your mistakes and then do your best to correct them. Make sure you don't make the same one twice. Never blame others for your errors, even if they deserve it. Instead, set an example so that those who share responsibility for the mistake can step forward and admit their part.
Always Fight Fair
You will inevitably have occasional disagreements with your co-workers or even your boss. You may think that something should be done one way while someone else will believe another way is better. Don't let yourself get angry. It doesn't matter how upset you are or how strongly you believe you are right, screaming in the workplace isn't allowed, nor is name-calling or door slamming. Calmly explain your opinion and be ready to walk away if you cannot sway the other person or if they begin to lose control.
Of course, you should always avoid physical contact.
Dishonesty always makes you look bad, whether it’s lying on your resume or calling in sick when you aren’t. A true professional is always upfront. If you are unqualified for a job, you have two choices. Don’t apply for it at all or submit an application that reflects your real skills. If you choose the second option, explain how your other strengths compensate for the missing requirement. As for lying about being sick, if you need a day off, take a personal or vacation day.
Don't Air Your Dirty Laundry
While confiding in a close friend at work is usually okay, sharing too much information with the entire office is not. Be judicious about whom you talk to, particularly when it comes to discussing problems you are having with your spouse or other family members. If you do decide to share something personal with your co-workers, don’t do it where customers and clients might overhear you.