So, you’ve been promoted. Congratulations, you’re now in charge of your peers and possibly, your friends!
Don’t panic! Here’s a recommendation you can follow to be successful. I call it the LASH OUT solution.
Layout expectations for everyone.
If you outline your expectations to your entire team, including your friends, everyone will know what they need to do. Be very clear about what results need to be produced.
In addition to the work, successful leaders define expectations for their teams related to people skills and team behaviors. Tell your team the kind of leader you’re willing to be and make clear what your expectations are of them, individually and as a team.
Don’t treat your friends better than everyone else. This sounds simple but it’s actually very difficult to do consistently. People are often afraid of breaking friendships if they don’t give their friends special treatment. As my mother would say, if they don’t want to be your friend for doing the right thing, they’re not good friends to begin with.
Leaders need to constantly remind themselves of the line between friendship and leadership. Don’t let your friends on the team get away with doing less work, producing lower quality results or misbehaving. You’re only hurting yourself if you play favorites. Plus, it makes you look weak as a leader, which makes you lose credibility.
Spread the love.
Did you used to go out to eat or enjoy happy hour with some of the employees you now lead? No one’s asking you to stop but you might want to consider inviting the rest of the team. If you can include everyone in the activities that brought you closer to your friends, you may end up with a really awesome team, rather than just some good friends.
Hold your entire staff accountable for team and individual goals and behaviors.
Remember when we talked about expectations? Don’t just set them. Hold people accountable for them. If someone on your team needs coaching, even if it’s your friend, coach them. Communicate to them that you want to help but that they need to pull their weight. Again, don’t lose credibility to save a friendship.
The goal is to get the most out of your team so that you can lead change, create positive results and make a difference together.
Opt out of all the gossip.
The days of water cooler chat are over when you’re promoted to a leadership position. Don’t allow yourself to get caught up in the gossip. Not that it’s okay for your employees to be gossiping but when you’re a leader, you need to be the one who sets the example.
Understand your employees.
Get to know everyone on your team, not just your friends. Learn about what they like, what motivates them and what frustrates them. Use what you learn to personalize your leadership to each person. Just like people learn differently, people also respond to leadership styles differently. Adapt as necessary.
Take time outs.
You can disagree all you want but you are never too busy to take a time out. Time outs are for reflecting and reenergizing, . Take time outs often to think about the things you can do differently to lead your team successfully and to get motivated to do them.
Use this LASH OUT model to ensure a successful transition from peer to leader. Ultimately, it’s your choice. Do you want to go from peer to fear or peer to pioneer? LASH OUT and pioneer change and great ideas!