Wednesday, 3 April 2019

Making the leap to leader

It’s not uncommon to experience a change in attitudes and relationships when making the transformation from co-worker into leader. Peers who were once your friends are now the people whose performance you are driving and whose potential you are hoping to realise.

It can be an extremely difficult move from co-worker to leader, but there are ways that you can avoid any negativity and make a smooth transition. This article from The Psychologist looks at some of the ways to make the successful leap from co-worker to leader and whether it’s jealousy from your peers that you’re facing, or a lack of respect, here is some helpful advice.

Skill up

Your employer must have seen your management potential, but your peers may not – yet! So a great way to help you manage the transition to leader is by attending a management course. It may not teach you anything you don’t know, but it's a good way to validate your new role with your co-workers and meet other people in a similar situation as yourself. Training also gives you the opportunity to discuss your concerns with someone other than your boss or former peers.

Set expectations

Being open and honest about the change in your role is the first step to acceptance. Arrange one-on-one meetings with your team and discuss what these changes will mean to the team. It’s important to clear the air and get any grievances out in the open from the word go. This can resolve any initial resentment and sets a precedent for the future. Allowing employees to share their feelings can also prevent them from discussing any issues with their colleagues, and promote an open door relationship going forward.

Manage your attitude

One of the reasons former co-workers may fear your new position is that they expect your attitude towards them to change. Although this will be true in some ways – you’ll need to manage their performance, for example - it’s important that you don’t take a dominating or oppressive management style. There’s a fine line between being over friendly and being dictatorial but once you’ve found the balance, they are more likely to respect your position.

Listen and include

Often, employees get frustrated at work because they don’t feel appreciated or included in management decisions. Ultimately, decisions need to be made by management but that isn’t to say you can’t take their thoughts into consideration beforehand. When planning goals, speak with your team and listen to their ideas – you could find that they have valid points and appreciate you asking for their input.

Give praise

There’s nothing more disheartening than achieving something great at work and either not being recognised for it, or management taking all the glory. Make sure you praise or reward your staff when they've gone the extra mile or have exceeded targets. You understand the job that they’re doing, so remember to make a point of recognising their efforts regularly.

Look and learn

One of the best ways to learn how to become a great leader is by observing how other managers behave towards their employees. Not only can you see how they create positive relationships, you can also learn from those managers who have yet to gain the respect and support of their team. Listen to how they speak to their staff, observe their body language and watch how their employees respond to them.

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