Managing your mates? Read on...

Picture this – you’ve just landed a senior management role but the same workmates you’d usually celebrate your good news with are now working for you. This is the problem of “mate to manager” – where you suddenly find yourself managing people you’ve been friends with, and colleagues, for years.

This issue is particularly relevant in the hospitality, retail and call centre industries, which promote an active social culture outside the working environment – think knock-off drinks on a Friday night.

The trick is to strike a balance.

At the Institute of Careers, we believe that to be a manager you need to do two things – be organised and set the pace.

Just because you’ve landed the top job, don’t be fooled into thinking you can slack off and let your employees do the work. By setting the pace in your organisation, the same people who respect you on a social level will also respect you on a professional level.

Here’s our top tips for being a great leader, and a great workmate:

1. Meet your team all over again.

You might not have changed, but your role has. It’s important that your team members understand this. Get reacquainted by calling a team meeting on your first day to set out your new role and the expectations you have of the team – the goals you’ve set and the purpose of your new role.

2. No special favours.

Boundaries must be set. Just because the team is mates with the new boss doesn’t mean they don’t need to hit their KPIs.  Let the team know that you’ve been hired for the simple reason of leading the team – then take the team to a premiership, not to the pub.

3. Systemise the business.

This applies to all of our management training. You can now let your team know that none of them will need to do any work anymore now that you are the manager.  Teach them that;

Every business is a network of systems

Systems are how work gets done

People operate the systems in the business.

You see how no one does any work? All they do is operate the systems.  The systems include ‘how to answer the phone’, ‘how to process an order’, ‘how to lift a box’.  Systemise everything, and empower your team to take ownership of the systems that they operate, and encourage them to continuously improve the systems. This gives structure to your one-on-one meetings and your team meetings.  At every meeting you discuss the systems that the team are operating, and how they can be improved.

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