It may be your dream job to become the leader of your team, your firm or the department in which you’ve been working for decades or more.
But what’s the pay-off when it actually happens? How do you manage the major Truss-like shift of transitioning from ‘peer’ to leader?
MAD-HR takes a look.
Finally we have a new name above the door.
It’s been a long (and some might say, protracted) process throughout the summer, but now we finally learn that Liz Truss is the leader of the Conservative Party, and indeed, the new Prime Minister.
What this means, of course, is that Liz has gone from being a peer among the party, to a ‘leader OF the party’.
She’s no longer ‘one of them’, but one ‘slightly above them’.
It might sound like a subtle shift, but in fact, whether you’re making such a transition in government, a school, a public sector body or a private enterprise, stepping up from being a peer to a leader can be hugely challenging, and involve a lot of careful management and consideration.
To get such a process wrong can spell disaster for one or multiple parties.
It can cause anger, hostility, alienation, and a resulting impact on productivity and workplace commitment.
At worst, it might even lead to challenges around retention and the need for swift recruitment and retraining.
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Here are some key factors to consider:
From the outset, be aware of measures by which you’ll be accountable to yourself and others.
You’ll want to know that you are achieving against your own newly established objectives in the context of the fresh role, but it will also build credibility with your peers to show that you are accountable and transparent in everything you do.
Sure, you may well have become great friends with some of the colleagues you’ll now lead, but it’s reasonable to develop boundaries around how you’ll conduct working life with them.
This includes, helping them understand what’s expected of them in the routine of professional life.
Allow them to understand defined roles and responsibilities, and communicate any changes clearly. Explain why you might be introducing any differences in working practices or approaches.
Communication and checking-in
As with friendships and any relationships which go a distance, you have to keep checking in to look at how they’re working and what’s working well for one and for both parties.
Be sure to maintain really regular touch-points with your peers, and allow them to share with you how they feel about your performance and the impact on your new positions in the organisation. Don’t be afraid of honesty and feedback.
Develop broad shoulders
It’s to be expected that some won’t like what you implement.
Some will be envious.
Some will expect favours.
Some will distance themselves from you altogether.
Be prepared for these differing responses, but do all you can to stay true to your intentions and to your own moral compass, preserving the best interests of your business and your wider workforce.
Expect to build different networks
Perhaps it’s no surprise to think that you might want to look at developing different social and networking circles.
It may no longer feel right to get your close comrade over for a drink every weekend, when you’re now their boss or significant leader.
It’s perfectly possible to be a friend and a boss, but there are subtleties, and you may simply recognise that just as friendships can run their course or take different directions, so too can relationships with peers.
Ensure the business has a feedback mechanism
It’s really important that peers of all level and leadership have the ability to talk about how they feel and to comment on the performance of others, to someone else in the organisation.
That might be an internal HR function, or it might be an external consultant who can advise where appropriate.
Consider this external option if you feel you lack such a resource.
For more information, contact MAD-HR via our contact page or by calling us on 01473 360160.