Sharon Koehler

Artistic Stone Design

You did it! You worked hard. You were a team player. You had great ideas and insights. You got promoted! Congratulations. You earned it. You go home, celebrate and go to bed thinking all is right with the world. You’re even smiling a bit in your sleep.

Then you wake up in the morning, put your feet on the floor and realize the situation you are really in. These people you are getting ready to “manage” have up until now been your peers and equals. They have always been on the same rung of the ladder as you were.

Well, not anymore. You have stepped up a rung or two. You realize that you have to get them to accept you as leader, not just peer. But how? You aren’t just buddy, pal, chum or crony any more. You are a leader but you are a leader who needs to get them to follow your lead and respect your decisions and knowledge. It may be a bit tricky, but certainly there are some tricks.

Before you make any changes, sit back and watch a bit. Even if you think you know a better way or have a better idea, there’s no need to be all gung-ho and shove a bunch of changes down people’s throats. Humans by nature are resistant to change, even if it’s for the better. Watch for a bit and decide which changes need to be made first, and why. People are more accepting if they understand why you are doing what you are doing, so be prepared to speak and say why you are making whatever change it is. “Because I said so!” is NOT a good managerial tactic. 

You should always be consistent in your praise and your disapproval. If two people do good work and you aren’t too fond of one of them, you can’t let that matter. You need to give both an equal amount of praise and/or bonus. If it’s praise, it never hurts to give kudos in front of others. It’s a good ego boost for the recipients and shows your team that you do appreciate good work. 

On the flip side, if two people do something you don’t approve of, again, you can’t let it matter that you like or value one more than the other. You need to be consistent in what you say and do.

As a leader you need to set the example you want everyone else to follow.Set the example you want everyone else to follow.
If you take extended lunch breaks, spend too much time on personal calls, miss a lot of time or constantly come in late, others will think it's OK for them to do likewise. You can’t very well have an issue with someone always being late if you are always late. Lead by example.

Realize that other people have ideas and opinions, and encourage your team to speak up. The idea someone throws out may be great and your team may benefit from it (of course, that also makes you look good). However, if someone throws out a bad idea, be careful how you react. If you berate them or ridicule them (especially in front of others), it can derail the whole “give me your ideas” thing you’ve got going on, and sometimes a bad idea breeds a good idea. Take all ideas in stride and thank everyone. 

You need to be clear with everyone about what you want and expect. There is nothing worse than employee or a team of employees working towards a goal only to find out in the end that it wasn’t what you wanted at all. You may think you have been clear, but different people interpret things in different ways. 

Since I have been working from home, I can’t tell you how many times I have read an email and then had to call the sender to ask a question because they knew what they meant, but I didn’t. “Did you mean our employee Bobby will be on the job or their employee Bobby will be on the job?” “Did you mean Silver Pearl Polished or Silver Pearl Leather” (in this case, all they wrote was “Silver Pearl”). Did you mean Trail Ride St, Ct, Lane or Circle? If you want someone to come in early one day don’t say come in early. Be specific about the time you want. You can read your own mind, others cannot. Be clear about what you want. It will save a lot of time and issues in the long run.

Don’t forget to have some fun along the way, and make sure others do, too. There is nothing wrong with a bit of tom-foolery every once in a while – as long as you can do it in a socially distant kind of way, or within the CDC or your state guidelines. A game of horseshoes or cornhole won’t hurt anyone. If the problem is that your team isn’t quite gelling, try a team building exercise like Office Trivia or Truth/Lie. There are so many more team-building activities online. We have all heard that expression “All work and no play, etc., etc”. Having some fun every once in a while actually relieves stress and increases productivity. 

Most of all: be confident in your ability to do the job. You got promoted for a reason. Go out there and be the leader you were promoted to be, and the leader they need. You got this.

Please send your thoughts on this article to Sharon Koehler at