Q&A: “I was promoted to manager. How should I build relationships and solve problems with the team, considering we just recently were on the same level?”
“Status will get you nowhere. Only an open heart will allow you to float equally between everyone.” (Mitch Albom, Tuesdays with Morrie)
My usual approach to this is that “manager” is first and foremost a role. This role, like other roles, incorporates responsibilities and certain attributes. It also has its pros and cons. Not everyone wants to be a manager. Not everyone can or should be a manager. The level in the hierarchy, unlike the role, is practically not as important in communication and problem solving. It just provides you with some tools, which is a different topic. However, when you are promoted to a manager role, you will need to adjust your communication and approach, but not quite in the way you might think.
It is widely believed that after being promoted to manager, you suddenly need to live up to your new “boss status”. And what usually happens is that the new manager spends all the energy on showing people this status in every possible way. This often leads to the fact that relations with the team deteriorate. It becomes more difficult to complete team assignments, not to mention increase productivity, and the leader doesn’t see how to reverse the atmosphere in the team.
It’s better to think that after being promoted to manager, you need to continue to be yourself in the first place, and the trick is to smoothly equip the new tools in your arsenal.
As a leader, you are now responsible for the results of the team, take it. Improve these results by continuing to collaborate with the same team, but looking from a different angle and keeping the bigger picture in mind. Don’t change your communication style completely, be yourself, be the person your teammates are used to working with. But you need to shift your focus, because that’s the expectation of your new role. Explain to people why you need to do what you need to do. Make sure they understand your reasons. Work individually with anyone who needs a separate explanation. In fact, you are going through changes in your team and every change needs to be managed.
You need to show that you are helpful and useful in your new role. To do this, you need to be really helpful and useful. If you succeed, you will never think about how to get them to “accept me as boss” or remind the team of your position level. I can’t think of a single situation where you really need to remind someone on your team of your position. But this is what I often see people do. Believe me, your team remembers this.
Returning to the original question “How should I build relationships and solve problems with the team, considering we just recently were on the same level?” — considering your new role potential, just ignore the fact that you are on “another level” and focus on solving problems and being useful.