Thursday, July 06, 2006

Oh No….You’ve Been Promoted!

So . . . you used to lunch and gossip with Tiff, Mandy, and the tea lady (whose name you simply can't recall) down at the Petri Dish Café in Lan Kwai Fong. Now, by no fault of your own - you’re their boss. Truly, a difficult workplace situation if there was one - especially when the tea lady was one of those who contended for the job and lost.

And, as if losing your seat at the Dish isn't enough, you've lost your peer group - maybe even your friends - just when you needed them most. Now you’re the boss you and your co-workers used to moan about. You remember how side-splittingly funny that was!

Naturally, in a fit of heat dementia, the HR Officer has announced the promotion. Company-wide. What will you do?

Agreed, ‘shopping at Pacific Place Mall’ is a reasonable answer, however, consider this:

Seed a new circle of peers: friends, romans, countrymen - you need them fast and you need them yesterday! Generate some ‘fancy-a-wine-spritzer?’ relationships with peers in other departments. Not that you’ll never hit the Dish with the old gang again, but for now you all may need some short-term distance. Seek people at your new level dealing with the same challenges you’re facing.

Get your boss in the programme: ask your boss to answer questions from others in a way that supports your new position as their manager. For example, asking them to turn in their reports to you on time, or to go to you for help if they need it. That demonstrates clearly where the new authority rests. Acknowledge your boss for their support ‘when Mandy came to you with issues, I appreciate you sent her to talk to me directly.’

Meet face-to-face with your subordinates: recognize the change and ask for support: ‘we’ve worked together a long time, so this will take some adjusting to. I’m happy you’re on my team and I ask for your support while we go through this transition.’ If you have any, share concerns.

Remember, as the new manager, it’s better to be respected than be treated as a ‘peer.’


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