Does this sound familiar?
You’ve achieved your goal! You been promoted from Medical Receptionist to Practice Manager.
You’re excited and terrified all at the same time.
Then you realise you probably have a lot to learn about managing the Practice and your team.
Your team! Your team that consists of your former peers.
You might find the thought of managing former peers a little daunting and awkward. Your friends, your Friday night drinks buddies, the people you commiserated with and complained about the boss together.
Are they going to listen to me?
What do they think about me being the boss?
How will I establish my credibility and authority?
While you are figuring this out and learning your new role, your former peers will also be adjusting their relationship with you.
Here are some practical steps to overcome these challenges:
Believe in yourself
You were promoted to the role for a reason. You are obviously the best person for the job!
Communicate early through one-on-one meetings and team sessions (a little more about this later).
Confidential information and boundaries
You will be privy to confidential information that you must not share with your former peers.
You may also want to set some boundaries – for example it may not be appropriate to continue with the Friday night drinks – but, at the same time, don’t become aloof and unavailable. You’ll need to strike a professional balance.
Treat them equally
Your new direct reports may be a combination of former peers, friends or people you didn’t work closely with before. Regardless of your previous relationships, treat all of your team members equally.
You will have great insight on your former peers – you are likely to know what motivates them or upsets them and you’ll have good knowledge about the politics of the organisation. Use this information when coming up with ways to motivate and engage your staff.
Your development needs
You’re a new leader and, chances are, you are not going to have all the skills and knowledge that you need. Talk to the Practice Owner or your HR Consultant to discuss your development needs, create a development plan and seek advice when you need it. Also think about what you will do to build a connection with your new boss and new peers.
Have one-on-one meetings with your team members as soon as possible.
Ask them how they feel about the change? Ask them what support they need from you? Let them do most of the talking, your job is to listen.
Other questions you can ask:
What do you think should change/stay the same (regarding the team/working environment etc..)?
What do you think the team needs to take immediate action on?
What can I do to ensure we have a positive working relationship?
Share what you care about, your values, your ideas about creating a culture where people are happy and love working there. Be careful not to introduce too many changes straight away but instead identify small decisions you can make fairly quickly.
Dealing with a difficult team member
What do you do when a team member is upset that they didn’t get the job and are unhappy that you are in the role?
Take them aside and discuss directly and ask them what their concerns are. Have this conversation earlier rather than later, don’t delay.
Talking to them directly will help prevent them from talking behind your back.
If they are disappointed about not getting the job you may need to give them time to sort their feelings out and adjust to the new situation.
If you need help with leadership, managing people or need a sounding board, talk to us to find out how we can help.