Dear Miss Management,
After working as a staff nurse in a medical/surgical unit for eight years, I was appointed head nurse of that unit. Following the staff meeting during which my promotion was announced, I found myself surrounded by three coworkers offering their congratulations and making other comments about how things will be different now that I'm a manager. For instance, one woman mentioned that I may not be able to carpool to work anymore since I'll have different hours. Another mentioned that it's an odd situation, since we all used to gripe about work together. I'm wondering what advantages and disadvantages there are in becoming the supervisor of a group to which I once belonged. How do you think the promotion will affect my relationship with my former coworkers?
Awaiting Your Professional Guidance
Unfortunately, you don't have much of a choice in this situation. You can't turn down a promotion just because you might lose your carpool buddies. If they're really your friends, they won't hold it against you. That said, I understand why you're worried. It might be uncomfortable to start supervising people who are accustomed to being your equal.
But it all depends on what kind of approach you take. If you suddenly go Donald Trump on your former pals, you can't blame them for being resentful. Instead, use your existing friendships to build a solid, collaborative work environment. You might even start off by having a frank discussion with your coworkers. Point out that the situation is kind of weird, but that you're looking forward to creating the kind of environment you've all dreamed of during your carpool gripe sessions. Even then, you may face some difficult situations. Remember, being the boss isn't always easy. That's why it pays more.
Last updated: Nov 9, 2004
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