Monday, January 24, 2005

Be prepared to sacrifice close ties after a promotion

AN INTERNAL promotion can be a godsend. More money, better prospects, no awkward settling-in period.

But hang on. What's that nagging feeling at the back of your mind? Could it be the prospect of managing your peers — the same people you've worked alongside as an equal? Just how will you lay down the law with your former drinking buddies?

For the newly-promoted, such concerns are often cause for anxiety.

Magazine production controller Oliver Heath, who was promoted above older colleagues as head of department after just two years at the company, recalled: "What made my promotion even more of an about-turn was that I was the youngest in the department — 24 at the time. "I didn't know how I was going to be able to gain their respect without them thinking of me as some kind of young whippersnapper."

Heath's worries were compounded by the treatment of his predecessor. "We all used to moan about her behind her back, say she wasn't up to the job ... Now I was in her position and was wondering what they'd be saying about me."

As a result, his early months as a manager were marred by concerns about upsetting the applecart.

This, says Stuart Duff, head of development at Pearn Kandola psychologists, is an attitude to avoid at all costs.

"When you become the boss, you need to be willing to sacrifice some of the closeness you may have previously had with your colleagues. Those who fail at management have often … put their need to be liked ahead of their commitment to the company and the role they have to perform."

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