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Dear Workforce How Do I Handle Fallout After My Promotion

Since being promoted, I have detected a lack of respect from my peers--nothing concrete, but their actions make me feel like an outsider. I’m wondering if it might be due to my new position as manager of operations. What is my course of action?
February 19, 2004
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Dear Cold Shoulder:

Congratulations on your promotion. I know that there will be a lot of challenges associated with your new job, and the feelings of jealousy you have detected from your old teammates are just one of the first. While transitioning to a managerial position, you want to maintain their friendships; yet, you have the extra responsibility of managing their performance.
Situations like these take time. You and your teammates are dealing with a change, and there are a lot of elements that are unknown right now. These include things like how you should handle your new responsibilities, what effect these tasks will have on the team, and what expectations people should have about your leadership style. Think of this transition as a journey--it begins when the change was introduced, and will end when the change becomes a familiar way of doing things and everyone on your team has adapted to a new norm.
Your overall goal is to create an environment of respect and trust, one in which you as the leader are open and receptive to feedback. This will help others will feel the same way. Facilitate an open discussion with your team and explore some of their thoughts, feelings, and concerns about your new leadership role. Here are some key actions to take in your discussion:
  • Take time to acknowledge that your relationship has changed dramatically, and that you will now work in a very different way than before. It will take some getting used to.
  • Empathize with their feeling of uncertainty.
  • Reinforce your team's value to the organization.
  • Capitalize on the intimate knowledge you have of your team's strengths when planning new initiatives.
  • Offer your support to the team. Investigate how much support--and what type of support--is needed during periodic update meetings. You should also ask for your team's support in your new role.
  • Don't over-commit in your new role. This will build trust among your team.
  • Finally, don't deny your own feelings. Being able to make a statement such as "I am concerned about xyz" will show your own emotions in the situation and help you further build trust and respect.
In closing, allow time to adjust and focus on the long-term benefits for everyone involved in the transition. Your actions will go far in winning your team's trust and respect and lessening feelings of jealousy in the long run.
SOURCE: Tacy M. Byham, consultant, Development Dimensions International, leadership solutions group, Bridgeville, Pennsylvania, Feb. 26, 2003.
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The information contained in this article is intended to provide useful information on the topic covered, but should not be construed as legal advice or a legal opinion. Also remember that state laws may differ from the federal law.
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