QUESTION: I was recently promoted to manage a group of people who used to be my peers. Even though I was the team lead for a year, I'm finding it hard to supervise my former co-workers. As their manager, I feel that I am not being authoritative enough. How should I handle this?
ANSWER: Like most new supervisors, you're suffering from "imposter syndrome". Although you've been given a management title, you're not yet comfortable in the role, so management tasks seem unfamiliar and awkward. Supervising former peers can make this transition even more unsettling.
To successfully adapt, you will initially need to engage in some on-the-job role-playing. This simply means that you must act like a manager even though you don't quite feel like one. Fortunately, your team lead experience should have provided you with a head start.
Begin by meeting with your team members to discuss their jobs and agree on expectations. Express appreciation for their contributions and encourage them to come to you with any problems they may have. Speak with confidence, even if you're still feeling slightly shaky.
You can increase your managerial effectiveness by learning to recognize how your leadership style is shaped by your natural personality. Every manager has a unique combination of strengths and weaknesses, so there are undoubtedly some behaviors that you may wish to modify.
Finally, be on the lookout for helpful role models and mentors. Seasoned managers possess a wealth of practical leadership advice that they are often quite willing to share.
Source: McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.