Chris Gardner, who’s autobiography “The Pursuit of Happyness” was turned into a wildly popular movie, once stated: “There is an opportunity to create a new vision of the American Dream. A new vision that says achieving balance in your life is more important than the balance in your checking account…A new vision that says what you do does not define who you are.”
What you do does not define who you are—don’t let your new title or position in a company define who you are as a boss and leader. Just because you’ve made the leap from colleague to boss doesn’t mean you have to let go of the person you were before. PrideStaff Financial has some tips to help you transition from colleague to boss smoothly.
Set boundaries early.
Just because you’re now the boss, doesn’t mean you have to let go of the compassion or friendliness you had with prior colleagues. It does mean, however, your friendliness will need to be tempered, or balanced, with boundaries. You have entirely different responsibilities. You will now be measured as a success or failure on how others perform and sooner or later you will need to make some tough decisions that may affect previous colleagues. Maintaining a degree of distance, but balancing it with compassion and honest communication is one of the most effective traits of great leaders. Leadership is not easy, but it helps when you can rely on a team who respects who you are now as much as they did when you were just their colleague.
Social hour has changed.
Previous water cooler chat, break room venting or gossip about the latest miss-hap at happy hour ends the minute you become the boss. While previous colleagues may not be thrilled with the change, it will help them, and yourself, adjust much quicker to the new role if you make the changes right away. Avoid the gossip. Steer clear of break room gatherings and most after-work happy hours. It sends the message that you take your new role seriously—but don’t take it so seriously that you avoid colleagues altogether. Pop into their office and say hi or ask how the family is. Show you care and that you are still you, just with more responsibility.
Remember who you were.
Don’t let your new title distract you from the things that used to matter to you when you were a colleague. Remember when you and your co-workers would say, “If they would just ask us,” “If they would only listen to our suggestion” or “Do they even know what it is we really do?” If those things mattered to you then, they should still matter to you now. Ask your colleagues what it is they do—specifically. What is it that would make their jobs better, easier? Take notes and listen. Don’t interrupt, but truly listen to what they have to say. Some of the greatest leaders didn’t just climb the ladder to get to the top—they remember where they came from and what concerned them at that time, and they take great care to always put themselves in someone else’s shoes, in this case, your old shoes!
Making the leap from colleague to manager doesn’t have to be difficult, but it does mean you have to accept that you have responsibilities you didn’t have before. Balance who you were with who you are and the transition won’t be that hard.
PrideStaff Financial wants to help you succeed in all your career endeavors. We’ve got the tools and knowledge you need to take those next steps. Contact our financial consultants today and find out how we can help you.