Crafting a culture in which managerial roles are filled with internal talent is a fantastic way to offer career advancement pathways and prevent the dreaded "brain drain" that a high turnover rate can create.
On the flipside, an employee who moves from an hourly role to a supervisory one can face a difficult transition, largely because his or her newly minted manager status can create tension with their former peers.
But it's nothing that can't be overcome with some intentional actions and planning. Here's how to effectively supervise former peers following a promotion to management.
Talk It Out
Remember in middle school, when the new, cool kid would move into town. And before you knew it, your "friends" would abandon ship and flock to the newcomer, leaving you out in the cold.
A similar phenomenon can occur following a promotion to management, where the new supervisor alienates their former peers — whether intentionally or unintentionally —and falls into this "all management, all the time" mentality. Before long, you have a disgruntled crew who feels like you forgot what it's like to be one of them.
One effective way to bridge that gap is to:
- Sit down with each team member one-on-one at the start of your new role.
- This conversation is critical because it establishes a baseline and expectations for the supervisor-subordinate dynamic and does so in a more personal way than trying to address everyone at a large meeting.
- Ask each team member about their concerns and goals and what you can do to help them find success. This is where coaching and mentoring is instrumental in guiding people toward goals and expectations — it's much more effective than making demands or instructing people what to do.
- Reiterate that this transition doesn't mean that you can't be friends, but that it will alter the relationship in terms of how you engage them and the time spent with them.