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New Manager Guidelines- Part Three:

Friends Who Are Now Subordinates

In New Manager Guidelines, part one and part two; we have discussed leadership styles and the importance of time management. The next big issue is the change in your relationship with friends and colleagues; you are now their manager. As a manager, you will now be having input on performance, deciding who receives certain projects, and perhaps having to take disciplinary action. It is critical that you, the manager, understand company policies and procedures. Know what is expected of you and what you expect of the people you manage. Write them down and share with your direct line of supervision. Here is a list to get you started:

  1. Understand the written policies and guidelines pertaining to the company and the employees of your unit.
  2. Obtain copies of the job descriptions that accurately reflect each position that you manage; make sure these are the ones used as a basis for performance reviews.
  3. Understand performance standards and procedures.
  4. Conduct performance reviews on schedule. Focus on work performance / behaviour, not personality. Recognition is given for good performance and a plan of action is agreed upon to improve performance that does not meet standards.
  5. Consistency in working with all employees is critical. Your decisions are not based on personal likes and dislikes. All your actions are consistent. You are not tough one day and loose the next.
  6. Ask all employees that you manage for their suggestions and concerns.
  7. Expectations and guidelines are set and understood.
  8. Consequences of poor performance or irresponsible behaviour are communicated and you follow through with the consequences if necessary.


I have been in this situation and found that effective communication is KEY! Meet with your group. Discuss with them your preparation of your role as manager. Share with them your guidelines and expectations. Open the discussion for their suggestions and concerns. Have them share their expectations of you.

Make these guidelines and expectations (from both manager and employees) available to the group. More often than not, your friends will understand your new responsibilities and will cooperate. If conflict does exist, immediately take measures to resolve the situation; it will not disappear. Utilise the resources in your company, either through HR and/or your direct supervisor, or suggest to your supervisor working with an external coach. Any intervention needs to include both you and the other person