What generally happens when an ordinary employee climbs the work ladder and becomes the newest manager? Well, in an ideal world, he or she would maintain coworker friendships, still come in and leave at the same time, and no longer have to worry about the “dirty” work.
However, ask any manager and they can relate that a number of things change. Because they are now in a position of authority, old coworkers may become envious or angry. If they felt they deserved the job, they may become miserable and spend valuable work hours complaining. The relationship between the manager and employees directly affects productivity, morale, and enthusiasm.
As a new manager, it is your responsibility to motivate and maintain an open relationship with your employees. If you let your new job title go to your ego, chances are you will damage (often permanently) the relationships and respect of your workers. As you undergo the transition to manager, there are several things to keep in mind.
1) You need to separate personal from professional relationships. While you may have a best friend working under you, playing favoritism will make other employees lose respect, and morale will quickly decrease. While you can still maintain the friendships, you need to be clear that the friendship will not affect how you treat your best friend who works under you as an employee. If they make a mistake, you will handle it in the same way as you’d handle the guy down the hall. If they deserve recognition, you won’t have a special award made up, unless you plan to do this for other employees.
2) You need to realize that your 9-5 hours are no longer practical. Employees want to see their managers working just as hard, if not harder than them. For the most part, come in early and stay late. It will earn you the respect that you need. There is nothing worse than a manager who boasts their flexibility to come and go as they please. Your employees will quickly become resentful of your abuse of power.
3) While your new job does have perks, such as an air conditioned office, ergonomic chair, and brand new computer, it is important to still remain a team player. You have worked hard to move up the ladder and leave the demanding, physical labor of a factory. You deserve to sit back and enjoy it. Right? Well, not exactly. Some of the best managers spend time “in the field.” Simply put, the best manager can spend time doing office duties, but has no problem rolling up their sleeves and fixing a machine or taking the place of an ill employee. If your employees are struggling, they will become resentful if you don’t do your part.
4) Maintain open contact with your employees. Let them know that your door is always open. Encourage them to offer new ideas or feedback that could increase profit. However, be warned. If you decide to use their ideas, give credit where it is due.
5) Get to know and maintain a personal relationship with each employee. Greet them every single day. A simple “hello” or “be safe driving home” will take only seconds, but will earn the respect of your employees.
As you enjoy your new position, it is important to remember that you were once the “ordinary” employee. Trust me when I say that your employees (especially jealous or angry ones) are watching your every move. Some may just be looking for reasons to blow off their job duties or start an argument. However, if you treat your employees with respect and act as a team player, chances are morale and productivity will increase.