Career Clinic

    Q. My colleague and I applied for the same internal promotion and I got it. We always got on quite well before but he is really annoyed and it has affected our relationship. I am now worried about how I will manage him and the situation when I become his manager. Do I ask our current manager to smooth the situation over before I start? Do I have a talk with my colleague about it? What do you advise?

    A. Your colleague’s reaction is normal and it’s not just about you. Things have changed: before you were a colleague and now you are the manager. It doesn’t mean you can’t have friendly relationships but they will be different. As a new manager, responsibilities sometimes require a bit of distance. But don’t go to the other extreme as you need to find the middle ground.

    Avoid tackling his annoyance in public because doing so will create resentment. Try talking to him rather than going to your current line manager. Discuss how you can work together for the good of the team and see if there are any areas he wants to focus on where you would welcome support.

    If there is continued resentment, take time to understand the issues raised and listen to his point of view. Allow him to express his frustration but then move on. Perhaps you could give him new responsibilities to motivate him and also acknowledge his achievements. If you used to share information, continue to do so where possible but don’t make any promises you can’t keep. If you haven’t had training in managing people, ask for it.

    Remember, the decision to promote you was not yours, so take heart from the confidence placed in you.

    Mary Chapman is chief executive at the Chartered Management Institute

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