Mastering the transition from colleague to manager

You have finally done it. The long-desired promotion is pending – you may be in charge of your first leadership role.

Often the initial enthusiasm and joy accompanying the new leadership role are spoiled through difficulties which accompany the role change from former colleague to senior staff. You may have worked together for several years on the same level with your present colleagues. Your colleagues may even know you from the time when you were still a simple trainee in the company. Moreover your colleagues may be evidently older than you yourself.

It is not surprising that this change of roles may result in doubts if your former colleagues accept you and take you seriously as top executive. But how can your colleagues take you seriously in your role, if you yourself are tortured by these doubts?

The following three questions can help you find your way into your new role more quickly and also help you to be accepted in it by your former colleagues:

  • What are the reasons that led to my promotion into the leadership role instead of my colleagues? – Become aware of your strengths in order to strengthen your self-confidence. Clearly address in a clarifying discussion potential negative feelings of your colleagues such as envy and doubts.
  • How do I want to live my leadership role? – In this regard think about what you yourself would wish from a good new executive. Which tasks and modes of behaviour would you like to keep compared to your role as a co-worker so far, and which ones would you like to leave behind you and which new ones would you like to adopt? – Also explain to your colleagues how you will live your new role and what will be the advantages for your department and the colleagues.
  • What are the advantages of my long-standing knowledge of the company and of my colleagues? – This is a point that is often missed. For is it not in various ways easier if your colleagues already know and estimate you as an expert and if you have good knowledge of the company structures and processes and have already built up confidence? – Also as an external applicant it is often not easy to achieve acceptance in the new role.

Make use of the transition into the new role in order to make yourself aware of your strengths and to make use of them for the new challenge ahead.

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