Taking on more responsibility is exciting, but it's important to recognize that a leadership role is not always a walk in the park.
Writing for Chronicle Vitae, Allison Vaillancourt, vice president of business affairs and human resources at the University of Arizona, offers 10 harsh, but helpful, warnings for "newbie bosses."
1. Some people don't think you were the right choice
And some of those people might report to you now, Vaillancourt notes. If anyone shows frustration or disappointment with your new role, she recommends ignoring it.
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2. The runners-up for the role probably resent you
…Especially if one or more of them now reports to you. Vaillancourt points out that the other finalists are likely to be bitter—and might show it. But she says it's better not to try and console them. There's a good chance your well-meaning efforts could backfire and only make them feel worse.
3. You're not going to be "one of us" to your colleagues anymore
Happy hours and office gossip are going to change dramatically for you, says Vaillancourt, since your former colleagues now recognize that you're the boss. This might be difficult to adjust to at first, but she suggests that things will improve once you settle into your new support network.
4. You can't boss people around
The best leaders take a nuanced approach to assigning tasks. People new to leadership positions are often tempted by micromanagement, Vaillancourt writes. Instead, she recommends delegating assignments and letting your team work on them more autonomously. Vaillancourt also encourages new leaders to learn about ways to motivate and inspire their teams.
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5. You might not be the smartest one on the team
It's okay if your team includes people who are better at certain tasks than you, Vaillancourt writes. In fact, this could actually work to your advantage. She suggests giving your smartest employees a goal but letting them figure out how to get there. They may come up with creative solutions that surprise you.
6. You're going to need to get in the habit of thanking everyone—and doing so publically
If you don't, Vaillancourt warns, your subordinates might feel that you're taking credit for their work, and they will not be happy about it. "You must utter people's names and thank them publically and profusely," Vaillancourt writes.
7. You can't sugarcoat things anymore
Bosses have to be direct and honest when giving employees feedback, Vaillancourt says. You're not going to get the results you want unless you tell it like it is. She encourages new leaders to study communication strategies to feel more comfortable with difficult conversations.
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8. You're going to make mistakes
Don't set unattainable expectations for yourself and don't be afraid to own your mistakes, Vaillancourt writes. She explains that admitting your mistakes will actually make you appear stronger, not weaker, to your employees.
9. Your best employees are probably going to quit
When this happens, Vaillancourt says, you can't take it personally or criticize them for abandoning you. Instead, you should be proud of them for wanting to pursue something even greater—and proud of yourself for building great future leaders.
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10. If you ever got away with slacking off, you won't anymore
Leaders who work less than their employees aren't taken seriously. Vaillancourt warns new leaders to avoid taking more vacation days than their teams. She writes that you should also be careful not to leave the office earlier—or come in later—than everyone else (Vaillancourt, Chronicle Vitae, 5/15).
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