Every Friday afternoon, you and your co-workers go out for the buffalo wing special at happy hour. But your recent promotion might threaten that happy band of friends. Now that you're the boss, can things ever be the same? Probably not, but if you go into it with clear expectations, very few feathers should be ruffled.

A change in your co-workers is inevitable, but manageable.

"It will change," says Amy S. Tolbert, owner of ECCO International, business consultant and speaker for wellness agency HPSS Global. "There may be a tendency to resist the new relationship and hold on to what is most familiar. Because it's a change in relationship, know that there will be emotion that comes with that change."

Communication

Communicating with your staff as soon as you earn a promotion is extremely important.

"When you're in a new position, clearly establish the roles and responsibilities with team members," says Tolbert.

"Let them know what you're thinking and feeling," says Erin O'Hara Meyer, president of Administrative Excellence, Inc. "Let them know you're there to help them. Let them know what you expect."

Communication doesn't end after your first staff meeting.

"Keep in the loop as much as you can," advises Tolbert.

"Be clear about what you can and cannot do in your new role," says Tolbert. "You probably have more inside knowledge of the barriers that may be holding the team back in some areas."

Fairness

It goes without saying that it's important to be fair with all of your new staff. Those with whom you weren't best buddies with might perceive favoritism, unless the issue is dealt with.

"You can still be friends, but it changes the relationship at work," says O'Hara Meyer. "You want to make sure you keep it on a professional level with established boundaries."

"Let others know there isn't favoritism," says Tolbert. "The way to do that is by demonstrating fairness, consistency and clarity."

You can exhibit your fairness by communicating with your staff and giving them the tools they need to succeed.

"Include everyone, not just the people you had stronger relationships with," says O'Hara Meyer. "This ensures that everyone feels treated the same."

While it's nice to be liked, don't forget why you became the boss.

"Perhaps you need to shift focus from being liked to gaining respect," suggests Tolbert.


Robert Elsenpeter is a freelance writer from Blaine.