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Becoming a Supervisor: How to Deal with Friends (Who Are Now Your Subordinates) October 10, 2008

Posted by dapinoyemployee in Da Pinoy Employee, Working with Bosses and Officemates.
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Congratulations on getting promoted!  You’re one step higher towards the realization of your corporate dream.  Now that you’re part of the management team, not only will your job title and description change, your set of priorities will also start to evolve.  The way people treat you will also shift slightly.  So how do you manage the transition?  More importantly, how do you manage your friends, buddies and weekend drinking partners who are now your subordinates?  Here are a few tips to make it painless:

Accept that things have changed.
The worst thing you can do is to go on believing that things can stay the same.  You’ll be deluding yourself.  Remember that your responsibilities are no longer the same – you will now oversee a team (that includes your friends) and will be responsible for their performance.  You didn’t have this kind of authority before and now you do.  Learn to deal with it.

Talk to your friends about the new arrangement.
I’m not saying you should make a big deal out of your promotion.  However, it’s a good thing to iron out issues right at the beginning so you’ll avoid any uncomfortable situations later on. 

Talk to your friends in a private setting and let them know that your promotion now includes supervising them.  Ask them for their support and say that you know they will always perform at work like the professionals they’ve always been.  Explain that from here on, you will be responsible for certain stuff in your department and that you will be leading them.  The sooner they understand that it’s just business and nothing personal, the better for you all.

Don’t say, ‘Just because I got the promotion doesn’t mean anything has to change.’  Uh, yes, a few things will change.  It would be nicer if you could say something like, ‘Just because I got the promotion doesn’t mean we could stop being friends.’  That way, you let them know that just because some things have changed, doesn’t mean your friendship has to as well.

Be fair.
From now on, you will have to maintain an objective view when it comes to treating your friends.  Treat them in the same way as you do other people at work.  If you show favoritism or bias, other people will be able to detect it. 

And don’t promise them anything that you wouldn’t promise to everyone else.  Remember that you’re there to earn their respect and cooperation, not their party invites.

Avoid being alone with your friends too often.
Just because you got promoted doesn’t mean you should cut up all ties with your old office buddies.  Remain friends with them but avoid becoming too ‘exclusive’ with your particular group.  Try to involve other employees as well, particularly during lunch hour, coffee or cigarette break, meetings or even office parties.

Be discreet.
Now that you’re part of the management team, you will be privy to certain information and decisions that will affect the employees.  If you are used to sharing info with your friends, it’s time to keep your mouth shut.  Management trusts you to keep certain things out of the employee grapevine, so avoid discussing these with others. 

A good rule of thumb is, if the subject or issue is job-related, don’t talk about it outside of work.  This also means you shouldn’t make comments or talk about the performance of other employees with your buddies.  You really can’t let your friends know that you think your boss’s most recent customer care plan is stupid or that little Charlie in Accounting will probably get the boot.  Topics such as these are off-limits to your friends because quite frankly, it’s none of their business.



1. Muhuhwahahahahahaaa - September 22, 2011

ahh .. i gotta new job at d airport as a supervisor in the departure,arrival & flight baggage loading section.

Its prety diffrent from my old job and its been 2 months at d airport and im just geting used to being a supervisor.

i cant say this helped much but surely its set my brain working on it a bit more,
so thanx 😀


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