The first big challenge new managers face
  • leadership
  • Blog post

The first big challenge new managers face

A week ago you were sitting in the cubicle next to your buddy Joe. Today you’re in an office and you’re Joe’s boss.

This happened because you got promoted. And Joe didn’t. This incredibly awkward situation is exactly what you asked for, of course. You wanted the increased responsibility, the higher status and the enhanced career opportunities that come with a management role. But you might not have fully understood exactly what that meant for your relationship with Joe.

In the past it wasn’t uncommon for you and Joe to gripe about low raises or mediocre benefits. Can’t do that anymore. You once saw Joe stuff half a ream of paper into his briefcase just before heading home. Can’t overlook that anymore. You and Joe were fond of sharing off-color jokes. That’s gotta stop.

This is tough stuff to deal with, but the first thing every new manager needs to accept is that you’re not one of the gang anymore. As a manager you represent the company. In fact, for your direct reports, you ARE the company. Which means you have to adopt an entirely new standard of behavior.

If you don’t, you’ll lose all credibility with upper management and, very likely, with your direct reports as well.

It’s not easy. In fact, it’s probably one of the most common reasons that new managers fail. But consider this: You don’t do your friends any good if you’re an ineffective manager. They deserve a boss who’s willing to do the job. Because if you don’t succeed, they don’t either. And that’s no way to treat a buddy.

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