A newly appointed manager might have to face the following challenges during the transition phase from an executive to a manager −
- Managing Friends
- Managing Non-allies and
- Managing the senior members of the team
In this chapter, we will discuss how a manager should deal with these three challenges.
The most common issue that people commit with friendships is that they tend to overlap personal and professional issues. This may sometimes mislead the manager to advice to his friends on problems that are out of the boundaries of the job, yet the blurred line still prevails.
Advising a person is a part of being a friend, but a manager is in a superior position in the relationship. Advising a friend (who is a subordinate now) may instantaneously seem as if the newly-appointed manager is judging his friend.
Even when the manager is advising about matters that are related to the job directly, it can prove to be immensely difficult to do so; if a negative feedback is given, he may feel that the manager’s perceptive view on him/her has changed in a negative direction. If this dilemma begins, the friendship and the company gets hurt as a result.
This issue can be diminished by setting proper goals and maintaining a good correlation between the feedback and the goal. If goals are set properly and these goals are well accepted by both the parties, the subordinates, even those who are friends of the manager, would never perceive the manager to be judgmental in nature. The achievements of the manager’s friends will be measured by whether or not they achieve their goals.
Consultants working in the field of management and psychologists studying the field of management, both acknowledge that any bond of friendship within the team should be kept aside whenever there is a hierarchical change within the team.
It is a very complex task to maintain discipline and give direction efficiently whenever friendship is given more weight compared to the manager-subordinate relationship. Also, the inherited nature in friendship is that both the people are agreeable to each other.
Now the basic task of changing the individual’s title can induce effective changes in the perceptive and emotional points of view. Friendship is very sophisticated even before the promotion of an individual, so with the involvement of business and money, friendship would only sophisticate any problems or challenges.
From a different point of view, friendships don’t necessarily always make working relationships more complicated. With correct handling, a close relationship of friendship could yield better positive results for all the parties that are involved.
Another big challenge that may be faced by a manager, earlier in management is to deal with weaknesses faced by friends and/or the colleagues who were peers previously. Is there a way that a manager may approach these people in order to rectify any problem without hampering the relationship of friendship?
In these circumstances, the manager must specify the definition and take steps for isolation of the negative behavioral aspects and give emphasis on the job and the requirements in performance and not on any specific person.
Let us take a look at an example of sharing constructive feedback with a friend. For instance, a manager might be wanting desperately to say, ”Sam, what complaints do you have against the finance department? I think you’re being over-reactive with respect to the terms they are demanding for newer customers. It is making the perception on us look bad.”
Rather, a manager should say, ”Sam, let us plan a meeting together with Scott who is from the finance department and have a conversation regarding their requirements. They probably may have some policies they must hold on to and that must make sense. We can concentrate on the significance of getting new customers on board with minimum amount of delays and emphasize on making some suitable changes that will help you in closing new business. Is this sounding fair?”
In this context, the manager has avoided the use of subjective words like “over-reactive”, which rather would have likely caused Sam to become defensive, than being open for a conversation. If the manager makes the discussion more objective in nature and emphasizes on positive aspects, Sam would likely be more welcoming towards the manager’s feedback.
As a manager, a person may have to come across the hurdles of managing people who usually don’t support him. In a number of instances, many members of the team may not have been allies from the beginning, thinking themselves or somebody else worthier of the promotion instead of the current manager.
They won’t accept that the person who has got the promotion deserves the job of the manager. The manager should not let people like these affect his mindset, because he has been promoted due to some strong reasons on his side, such as past achievements and proficiency. However, the manager needs to keep an eye open for them and not take them for granted.
The good part is that, a manager can at least diminish, if not completely eliminate, the negative perceptions of himself/herself in most of the cases. This is not a miracle that can happen overnight. It may need a great deal of patience on the manager’s side as well.
If a person practices strong fundamentals while managing his team, these non-allies can actually convert to great allies. A manager could be pleasantly surprised to find out that some of the most tough team members could turn into the manager’s most supportive staff members.
Managing Senior Members
Some resistance may be offered by some of the experienced executives to a newly-promoted manager. A new manager may feel intimidated when it comes to managing the experienced and seasoned executives, but it commonly occurs because the managers themselves often doubt their own capability when it comes to managing these experienced executives.
It is not expected of a manager to come into this position with all the necessary practice and skills. A manager should be realistic about his staff as well as himself/herself. It is not in the best interest of a new manager to avoid, be ignorant to or control every part of the seasoned players.
In order to win the trust of the veteran executives, a manager must set various goals. A manager must resolve any personal issues with any of the experienced team members as soon as possible.
This will help him to claim the respect of the team members quickly by knowing and maximizing the talents buried within each individual member of the team, including those who live in the delusion that they would not require any aid. Just as the manager has more room for growth and development, the same goes for the top players of the team.
The experience acquired by the seasoned executives in the team can also prove to be one of the most valuable resources. Referring to them before making any decision can eliminate a great deal of trial and error, specifically, if they are good at playing corporate politics and are thus capable on shedding a positive insight on the manager.
One of the most crucial and initial responsibilities of a manager is to maximize the talents of each team member regardless of the level of their experience. A key responsibility of a manager is to help his subordinates in eliminating any disadvantages by guiding and helping them to develop better habits. At this occurrence, the manager may wish to analyze some key areas of pros and cons of each of the members of the team, which they can work on later and eradicate them.