Managing friends after promotion


Things are going great. You’ve put the hours in at work, earnt yourself a well-deserved promotion and bagged a pay rise. The only downside is that you’ll now have to manage colleagues who’re your friends. Is just the thought of it enough to make you feel uneasy?

Well if it is, it needn’t. Providing you don’t let the power get to your head, there’s no reason it needs to be a challenge. Here are our tips on how to handle the change in dynamic.

1. Have that chat

Don’t ignore the elephant in the room. Go directly to your friends and discuss your new role and how it might change your working relationship. Clearly outline how your behaviour between each other – in work – might need to change, and reiterate the difference between your work responsibilities and personal emotions.

2. Don’t beat around the bush

But don’t steamroll right through it, either. Instead of completely transforming the way you are around them from one day to the next, gradually change the way you act so that it doesn’t feel like such a dramatic transformation.

Also, prepare yourself for potential uncomfortableness. Instead of feeling awkward about it, acknowledge it and maybe even make a joke about it.

3. Teething problems

Give your friends a transition period to get used to your managerial position, to let them get used to the new dynamic. If they continue to inappropriately tease, chat or lark about with you though, don’t be afraid to pull them to one side and say enough’s enough.

4. Be fair

It’d be to the detriment of your position if you showed leniencies towards friends. Losing the respect of other employees, causing friction or finding yourself with disgruntled employees are just a few potential backlashes you could face. It doesn’t matter what you get up to outside of work, but always treat all employees equally.

5. Vent elsewhere

If your work friend was previously the person you went to, to blow off steam about irritating employees, bad decisions or hectic workloads, try to vent elsewhere. With your new position, you’ll likely have more responsibility and information – the last thing you want is to be disclosing that with people you shouldn’t – it could backfire.

6. Take yourself away from gossip

Gossip’s prevalent in almost every workplace, but we’d recommend you stay well out. Instead of taking part, place your focus on handling gossip – if it goes wrong. As you move up the ladder in terms of seniority more and more will be expected of you, and your actions can have greater consequences. Always conduct yourself professionally and considerately.

7. Don’t expect favours

Refrain from putting friends in an uncomfortable position by asking something of them that you wouldn’t ask from others. Fairness works both ways.

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