Dear SJ,

I hope you can help me. Recently I got promoted to team leader of the team I was part of during 5 years. It's the first time I work in a leading role. That, and the fact that colleagues have reacted rather cold to this change, makes me feel blocked and stressed. How do I deal with that? 

An uncertain team leader-to-be.

Dear future team leader,

Managing former colleagues can be difficult for various reasons. The mutual relationships with 

people with whom you worked confidentially as a colleague change structurally. 

Nevertheless, there are important advantages associated with this promotion!

First of all: You know your colleagues well and know how they can excel. So you know perfectly well what you can delegate or how you can give them autonomy. Doing tasks they like a lot and do well is creating involvement and increases productivity.

Secondly: You have knowledge of the facts. You know the tasks and responsibilities of the team, what it's up against and how the work can be done easier. Implement process improvements in a ‘Can Do’ mindset will result in respect.

So you already have 2 benefits that ensure the acceptance of you as a manager.

Below are 3 more tips:

1.  Be open about your search for a 'different' type of relationship. Dare to indicate that you do not take this for granted. Ask your colleagues to express their feelings. By giving space to mutual feelings, you also communicate that you take your people's opinions seriously. 

2.  Be strict but fair. Your new role means that you and only you are responsible for the team result. The team's interests always take precedence over individual interests. So do not allow yourself to be influenced by colleagues 'for old times sake'. 

3.      Relax! There is a reason why you have been appointed as a team leader: higher management sees your potential and growth that can benefit both you and the organisation. Radiate self-confidence because, as Ralph Emerson said: "Self-confidence in two-thirds of success"!

I hope you've got some anchors to hold on, in good and bad days. 

Good luck with your further development!

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