Girl with people in background

Becoming the boss of your mates.

Girl with people in backgroundAt a recent workshop I was approached by a delegate, who was both young and newly promoted, saying that she found it hard to tell her team what to do.

She explained that she was now managing her friends and cohort, some of whom had applied for the job she had been given.

This lady was concerned that her new team wouldn’t like her and would just laugh at her saying “you used to do it” or “who do you think you are?” Put another way, she felt a fraud.

This fraudulent fear after promotion isn’t a sign of youth … I meet lots of people who suffer from various degrees of “Imposter syndrome” where they feel that they will be caught out at any moment.

I vividly remember walking into the “corner office” on my first Monday morning in a new role, shutting the door and wondering when they would realise that I wasn’t good enough! It turned out I was … and I grew into the role very quickly!

With that story in mind, my advice to this younger version of me was to:

  1. Remember that you’ve been promoted for a reason. Someone more senior than you has seen your potential. Accept that they were right and you will grow into the role.
  2. Know that your real friends will be delighted for you. If they aren’t, then they aren’t real friends.
  3. Accept that some people won’t like you. That’s OK everyone doesn’t have to. If you are fair, assertive and clear and understand that some might need time to adjust … even those who applied and weren’t chosen will start to see you were the right choice.

I also told her that her body language and vocal tone will tell others if she’s not feeling 100% confident. If you ask someone to do something but with an air of apology for causing inconvenience then you automatically diminish the way that they receive your message.

So make sure you’re standing well, have good eye-contact and that you minimise any fiddles or fidgets before you approach someone else.