Q&A: How to adjust to a managerial role


I've been promoted to manager and am having trouble transitioning into the role of disciplinarian rather than friend. How can I get along with my co-workers and be their boss?

"One of the first things you have to realize is that your co-workers will see you differently," says Nancy Potter, a Firstline Editorial Advisory Board member and practice manager at Olathe Animal Hospital in Olathe, Kan. And this is a good thing. As a manager, you are now responsible for initiating changes. You must help your team members become stronger in order to make your team more effective. "You cannot be afraid to act like a manager by providing direction, giving feedback, helping to resolve problems, and dealing with performance issues," Potter says.

But this doesn't mean that from this day forward, you'll be eating lunch alone. According to Potter, in order to establish credibility and build commitment from your staff while maintaining a collegial relationship, you need to remember how you felt before your promotion. What things did you wish management would consider? What did you want to change? What motivated you? "Your team wants to know what to expect, where they stand, how they can improve, and how to grow and be challenged," says Potter.

In order to demonstrate your humility and dedication, you'll need to talk openly with your team members. Be honest with them. Defend them. And continue to laugh with them. "If they have a sense that you are working to make things better, they will be more willing to cooperate and communicate with you." And, they'll be more likely to invite you to lunch.

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