Internal promotions – learning from others mistakes

A word of caution: it is often difficult to transition from being a mate into a managerial role successfully, and I write this through experience.

In a previous role I started as a manager of two individuals and was soon promoted to become a manager of 30+. Very naively I thought that I could make changes quickly. Some might say (and I’m in complete agreement) that those changes were detrimental to team motivation.

My first task was to make my mark as a manager.  To make a managerial decision that would stand me out from the others.  And it was goal achieved, for all the wrong reasons.
One of the first changes I made was to formalise a lunch hour and get individuals on a rota to cover lunch. I thought that the fact I was friends with some of the 30+ individuals meant that this transition would be seamless – my, was I wrong! The idea was good; the execution was shocking; the outcome was horrendous.

I had created a situation which involved inviting other managers to support it and help with the uproar that I had caused.

Never, ever overestimate peer loyalty when it comes to management. Your mate to manager transition must be carried out with understanding and empathy for the team that you are now managing, and this could mean starting from the beginning again in getting to know them. Strange as this may seem, you are their manager now. There are different dynamics and a different mindset in place for you and, I suspect, for them.

As well as assertively delivering processes and procedures, giving instructions, delegating, telling, etc., you must now deliver communications that your team may not like, without getting caught up in the gossip and whinging.

I would highly recommend that you don’t do as I did and go in with a bull-in-a-china-shop mindset. I made my mark; it was not a good one.

I was unclear of my role and goal.  I didn’t stop to think through what I wanted from my promotion, what the team would like from my promotion and the return on investment for the business. My initial response was to please my manager and this resulted in a knee-jerk response. I didn’t consider the repercussions of my actions. I didn’t consider the impact on my team. All of the above is a big mistake. However, what I can take away from it is, it was one of the best learning moments in my professional career.

Execute the instructions

Time will be a driving factor on the above questions, and, when there is no room for discussion, the instruction must be delivered. It won’t please everyone; however, the trick is to work out how best not to displease everyone.

Excerpt from The Step Up Mindset for New Managers by Margo Manning

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Moving from Mate to Manager Successfully

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