It is natural for employees to move up the ladder in organisations that have space for workers to do so. One of the most obvious step-ups is to become a department manager for the team that you were originally part of. This can be a daunting step as you now have responsibility for your fellow employees and a higher sense of authority. Here are a few tips to strike the right balance to provide good leadership while still maintaining positive relationships with your previous co-workers.

Don’t try to be popular

It is not uncommon for managers to be people-pleasers. However, this can be counter-productive when it comes to the management of your team. Being hesitant to discipline your team when it is needed will greatly affect their quality of work and productivity levels. Of course, it is difficult to be in a position of authority over someone you were once on the same level as, but try and think back to when you were in their position and what you would have wanted from your manager. You would have wanted someone who encourages you to work to the best of your ability. If you are firm and fair, your team will respect you.

Don’t favour anyone you were closer to

It is hard to draw the line between friendship and leadership, but in a working environment, it is not a good idea to let your own personal relationship with a team member affect how you manage your team. You should treat everyone fairly and act by the book. Relationships may become strained, but if they are your true friends, they will be happy for your success and make things easier for you to maintain a professional role, instead of trying to compromise your position.

Be mindful of out-of-office social events

We wouldn’t say avoid work social events altogether because you don’t want to appear like you feel you are ‘above’ your team. However, be mindful of how you act around those you manage. Think about how you felt in their shoes. If you appear to be favouring members of the team or acting irresponsibly out-of-the-office, the chances are that this will come back to haunt you. Getting drunk wouldn’t be the best idea as you may do something you regret later, which will compromise your position and how your team see you. Don’t be afraid to have fun and use this time to connect further with your team.