How Managers Can Deal With Being Promoted

Everything changes when you get promoted. Do you know how to handle it?
Everything changes when you get promoted. Do you know how to handle it?
Image Credit: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Europe District

Getting promoted is what every manager wants. With your new position comes more money, more responsibility, better benefits, and perhaps even elevated status. However, it turns out that there is a downside to this type of career advancement. You may now be asking yourself “where did all of my friends go?” Likewise, now when you walk into a room, conversations may stop. You are going to have to find ways to deal with this new world order.

Congratulations! Now Everything Has Changed

So let’s face it, when you move up, everything changes. People who used to be your friends may become distant to you. The ways that you used to relate to the people that you worked with may no longer work. As a promoted manager, you’ll probably have to sit through a lot of company provided training for your new position. However, what you are going to discover is that nowhere in this training will they reveal how you are supposed to deal with the new social dynamic that you are facing.

In order to keep your life in balance, things are going to have to change. You are going to be responsible for changing how you relate to your friends, how you are going to go about making new friends, and just exactly how you are going to make sure that you can get satisfaction out of your job. All too often what we are experiencing is a loss of trust among the people that we used to work with. Our colleagues who got passed over for the position that we got now feel less powerful. The result of this is that they have become hypersensitive to any missteps that you might make.

Things can get even trickier based on how we act once we are in our new position. We may make the mistake thinking that the skills that got us the promotion are the skills that we now need to use in our new job. What got us the job was our self-confidence and the ability to act as an individual contributor. We have also shown that we have a mastery of the skills that are needed to do our job. The problem with thinking this way is that it becomes too easy for us to start to appear to be intimidating to our team. People may think that we have to know all the answers, we have to do everything ourselves, and there is no way that we can ever show any weakness.

How Promoted Managers Can Work With Everyone Else

Great. So we’ve gotten ourselves promoted. Now what? What we need to realize is that the twin devils of arrogance and overconfidence are two of the primary reasons that managers who get promoted fail. If you feel that you have to know everything, that that is going to serve to create a barrier between you and your team. So what should you be doing? The answer is actually simple. In your new position you should work to inspire others, take the time to develop the skills of the people on your team, and both lead and manage change as it comes.

When we get promoted, we need to understand that things change. What this means for us is that we can no longer remain “one of the gang”. What we really have to do is to sit down with our friends and have face-to-face conversations with them after we get promoted. What you are going to have to do is to let them know what parts of your behavior are going to have to change now that you have been promoted. Make sure that you share with them the things that you want preserve. This can include such things as having them provide you with frank and honest feedback about how you are doing.

One of the biggest problems with getting promoted is that it creates a distance between you and the members of your team. The result of this distance is that it can make your team members afraid to say what they really mean. The last thing that you want to do is to be in charge of a team of “yes men”. What you are going to have to do in this situation is to find ways to go out of your way to get feedback from the members of your team. What you are going to need to do is to find someone that you can speak frankly to. This will be the person that you can go to when you need to vent. If you can do all of these things, then you will be better able to focus on your long-term career goals.

What All Of This Means For You

As managers, we all hope that we are doing a good job and that with a little bit of luck, over time we’ll end up getting promoted. When the promotion comes, we’ll be very happy to get it. However, it turns out that every promotion comes with a darker side – our lives will change. What this means is that as newly promoted managers, we need to find ways to deal with the change that this will introduce into our lives.

As new managers we often get access to a lot of training that has to do with our new position. However, we’ll quickly discover that this training is not going to tell us how to deal with the people who surround us. When we get promoted, we are going to be responsible for understanding how our relationships with others is changing. We need to understand that people who did not get the promotion will probably be feeling some resentment. We need to understand that the skills that got us the promotion are not the skills that we’ll need to be using to be a success in our new job. In our new position, we need to be careful to make sure that arrogance and overconfidence don’t start to play a role in our lives. We need to communicate to our team how we’d like them to treat us going forward. As newly promoted managers, we need to find ways to deal with the distance that our promotion will create between us and our team members.

Every promotion that we get is a complement from our company telling us that we are doing a good job. This is good news for us and for our career. However, with each promotion comes a set of changes that we’ll have to find ways to deal with. Our relationships with our friends, team members, and peers will all change. Understand that these changes happen, and find ways to keep your relationships strong. If you can do this successfully, then you should be able to be a success in your new position!

– Dr. Jim Anderson Blue Elephant Consulting –
Your Source For Real World IT Management Skills™

Question For You: Do you think that you can remain friends with the people that you knew before you got promoted or do you have to move on?

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What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

Congratulations to you! You’ve just been promoted! Finally all of that great work (and the great work of your team) along with your manager skills have been recognized. Umm, now what should you be doing? The world that you used to know has gone away. You are now in a new position and the people who promoted you and for that matter the rest of the company have new expectations of you. Just exactly what is a manager expected to do after they have been promoted?