If you find yourself promoted to manager, you might be wondering how to successfully make the transition from peer and manager, especially if you will be managing friends.
This can be especially tough when you and your friend started on the same level and now you’re their boss, says Hannah Ubl, a generation expert at BridgeWorks, a generational consulting company.
Here are four tips for easing into your new role managing Millennial peers.
Clarify your role
You might have to signal to your colleagues that you still have a professional friendship but your role just got bigger, says Sandy Vicente, 35, a manager at Summit Consulting LLC in Washington, D.C. Vicente was promoted from senior analyst to manager three years ago and now manages 10 Millennial peers. “It’s like going on a road trip with a friend,” she says. “You can’t both drive. The passenger manages the playlist and helps to navigate, and only one person can be the designated driver.”
Demonstrate your expertise
Wear your expertise on your sleeve and show your colleagues why you made it to the next level, Ubl says. The best way to do that, says Vicente, is to share your knowledge. “I put in my time as a peer to make my knowledge base wider,” she says. Now Vicente teaches colleagues what she knows. Initially peers would only ask Vicente technical questions but now they ask for advice on how to deal with a difficult client or what to do when a deadline might slip a day.
Go from peer to mentor, not boss
Cast your role as their “champion,” not their “boss.” As a manager, you will be in charge of your colleagues’ professional development at work, Ubl says. Focus on how, as a manager, you can help your peer group strengthen their skills and develop a career path, she says. “People know they can come to me and ask questions,” says Vicente, “and they know I won’t just give them a useful response but also push them in a new direction.”
Act as an advocate
Last year Summit began offering staff free snacks at work but Vicente’s off-site team couldn’t benefit from this perk so Vicente worked with the management team to make sure her team could enjoy this benefit too. Now snacks are delivered weekly to their off-site office.
Vicente also recommends praising your team and highlight the work they’ve done to a wider audience. “Always make sure everyone on the management team knows what your team has accomplished,” Vicente says.
This article first appeared in Forbes Magazine