Congratulations! You’ve worked hard at your job and now you’ve been rewarded with a promotion. After your initial excitement wears off, you’re hit with a wave of nerves and stress. How do you alleviate the promotion anxiety? How do you adjust to being promoted in your department and going from coworker to boss?
If you’ve been promoted in your own department, you probably have a lot to offer your new team. It’s likely that you’ve handled the same responsibilities as the team you are now managing. You know the systems, programs, and processes. You also know the people, aka, your new team. You know their strengths and weaknesses, their habits and concerns. You have a lot to offer to the team, so own it!
Create a Promotion Transition Plan
A great way to manage your promotion stress is to create a transition plan. Since you’ve been promoted in your department, you will likely need to continue to manage some of your existing work while you recruit and hire your replacement. At the same time, you will need to step into your new role. You need a plan.
Meet with your new boss. Make sure you have a clear understanding of the team objectives and how they support the overall company strategy. Discuss both long-term and short-term goals and how you will measure success.
Meet with HR. You will need to understand HR issues from a manager’s perspective. This includes things like harassment, bullying, and discrimination. You will want to learn about the benefits package and what tools you may have to help employees like the employee assistance program, short- and long-term disability, PTO and sick leave, etc.
Conduct 1:1 meetings with your team. Spending a little time with each person is a sign of respect and recognition of the importance of their role on your new department. Use this time to get status updates on all projects and processes and learn more about each individual’s background. You might identify under-utilized skills and expertise. What are their own goals? What parts of the job do they enjoy? Do they have new ideas on how to improve?
Create a delegation plan. Once you have completed these meetings you should have a good sense of work to be done and you can create a delegation plan. You may need to continue managing your existing projects, while you interview candidates to fill your old position, while you take on your new leadership role.
Adjust Your Mindset
Going from coworker to boss, you are now a leader. You will need to adjust your mindset. You can’t ignore your past relationships but you need to establish new boundaries. Be sure to treat everyone fairly and equally and deal with situations professionally and objectively.
It’s ok to socialize with your team at lunch or after work but steer the conversations away from work topics. Just remember to be yourself. Your role has changed but you haven’t. It’s fine for your team to like you. Likeability can help maintain strong relationships, diffuse tense situations, and improve productivity.
Share Your Expertise
You are now in a position to share your knowledge and expertise that contributed to your promotion. If your team is feeling their own stresses over your promotion, you can help alleviate the stress when you share your own lessons learned.
Years ago when I was promoted within my department, I had to delegate my projects to my former coworkers. I had spent several years perfecting my project management processes and building relationships with the field. I was able to share my insights to help them succeed and avoid some major stresses in our fast-paced environment.
We worked in the corporate office and supported over 30 field marketers on several centralized marketing campaigns. We carried a heavy workload with short timelines and, as the new department director, I could set them up for success with my tips. Things like:
- Which field marketing directors never met their deadlines and how to manage those relationships.
- How to finesse the in-house lawyers for a speedy approval process of marketing offers and legal disclaimers.
- How to use email, voicemail, and interoffice mail reminders to get the 30 field marketers to respond in a timely manner.
If your organization offers a formal new manager training program, be sure to enroll right away. If your company works with a company like ej4 to offer a full library of training, talk to HR or the training department to see if they have curated a track for new manager training. If they have not curated a new manager curriculum, you can create your own self-directed learning path. Here are a few topics you might consider:
DISC. By looking into DISC personality types, you can recognize your own tendencies, so that you can better recognize tendencies in others. Having this information will help you strengthen relationships and become a better employee, manager, friend, spouse, parent, etc.
Accountability. To have a high-functioning and performing team you need to have a strong link between three things: employees who take ownership, a culture of accountability, and a high-trust workplace. You will need to ensure your team has the skills, abilities, and motivation they need to succeed.
Legally Hiring. If you have never been involved in the hiring process, you need to understand how to find the best candidates and legally handle every step. Take the time to learn about EEOC, Title Seven of the Civil Rights Act, Pregnancy Discrimination Act, Equal Pay Act, and much more.
Additional New Manager Training Topics might include:
- Industry-specific regulations
- Conflict resolution
- Coaching and mentoring
- Emergency and safety procedures
- Considerations When Employees Go From Part-Time to Full-Time Work
- Top Professional Development Skills for a Modern Workforce
- Why Performance Reviews Call for Formal Feedback
- Guide to New Manager Training
- Tips to Build Relationships at Work
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on March 23, 2013 and has been updated for freshness and comprehensiveness.