How to be boss of your former coworkers | Talent

When in 2018 Michelle Obama stood in front of hundreds of students at Elizabeth Garrett Anderson School in London and confessed that she felt like an impostor nobody gave credit. After a brilliant career as a lawyer and in the world of politics, in addition to being the first lady of the United States for two terms, she still felt that she was not good enough or did not deserve the position she occupied. This feeling is usual. among those who suffer from the impostor syndrome. It is usually present when a new job is started or the status of an employee changes within the company, especially if you have to become head of those who until then were your co-workers, with the same category.

This change of role, from being an equal to being a superior, brings the feeling of being out of place even if you have the right training. One of the explanations that psychology brings to this phenomenon is that the image we have of ourselves and others is quite fixed. That is, it is difficult to change how we see ourselves and the role we believe we occupy in our environment. Yesterday you were one more, today you are the boss. It is an added difficulty to have to change the perception that others have of you compared to getting to a new place being boss from the beginning. According to the experts consulted, this situation can have negative consequences if you have low self-esteem or if you are not tolerant of frustration.

The insecurity that it brings causes fewer risks to be taken. “Feeling out of place and thinking that you are not able to fulfill your position makes you more conservative, so it is rare that those who live in this situation take risks or have confidence to ask for what they need,” explains Elisa Sánchez, coordinator of the group of occupational health of the Psychology College of Madrid. “So it is common for them to work below their potential. They conform. ” Too It is common for them to have a lot of dedication to work, cover your weaknesses and consider your imperfections a problem.

This transition is difficult for oneself but also for the rest of the team, which has to stop perceiving its new boss as a former work partner and give him the leader entity he has now. According to one of Udemy’s latest studies on employee experience, 56% of workers believe that companies rise too quickly. “And, precisely, when ascending, the employees recognize that the most complicated thing is to be seen as the boss among their previous colleagues,” explains Llibert Argerich, vice president of marketing at Udemy.

Specific skills

Directing the efforts of the workers towards the same goal, coordinating them to avoid overlapping tasks, analyzing situations and incidents to solve them successfully or meeting the individual needs and requirements of each member requires special skills. These can be worked on and acquired progressively. “The key is that it is as important to have these capabilities as they are perceived by those around,” adds Argerich.

Transmitting these skills is one of the keys that can help in this process. To achieve this, we must redefine the relationships within the group and the way of communicating. “What happens is that you want to continue having a colleague’s communication and the new boss has a hard time assuming his new role,” explains Sánchez. Many times, it happens for fear of making mistakes or being rejected by his former classmates. “Another usual situation is to copy the strategy and behavior of the previous leader or go to the opposite extreme.”

One of the tips that Sanchez facilitates is that the change happens as unnoticed as possible. That is, maintaining, in broad strokes, the same way of working and the same work dynamics. “It is important to transfer in a very clear way what objectives are set and how the change will be made,” he explains. “My recommendation is that, unless it is an emergency, no sudden changes are made. Because people do not usually like it and can be perceived as taxes and increase reactivity. ”

Strike a balance

With the change, the new boss has more information that, in many cases, he cannot share with the rest of the team, either because it is confidential or because it can affect the way the rest works. However, Sánchez recommends being as transparent as possible, especially if the appointment has not been the result of a selection process but of a decision-making based on the confidence of the superiors. “The lack of information can lead the rest to draw wrong conclusions that harm labor relations.”

That is why it is necessary to give all possible information. Although the conversations will not be the same, it is important that the new boss continues to feel part of the team and that the rest perceives it. The company is usually the enemy: all complaints and discomfort that may arise are destined for it. “You are the leader but you are still a member of the same old group. That they do not see you as of the others: of the direction or of the company. That can drive away and cool relationships. ”

Towards work confidence


Why good leaders make you feel safe. With the right environment, we all have the ability to do remarkable things. This is what Simon Sinek, a motivational writer, believes. In this talk, TED discusses how it has an impact on workers to have a competent leader to defend them. “If we feel insecure, we are forced to spend our time and energy protecting ourselves from others. And that weakens the organization, ”he says.

Courses and workshops. The communication and leadership course of the Institute of Business Communication can help overcome the new difficulties faced by the newly appointed bosses. He proposes to develop assertive skills to adapt more effectively to the new relationship with former partners.

App. It is not a mobile application, but it can be very useful for those in charge of a team. This website is designed to help bosses maintain continuous communication with their employees, opening new connection paths between them. Its methodology is based on the latest research on positive psychology, a branch of this science focused on improving the capabilities of users.


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