How to cope when you first become boss

Laura Evans, associate solicitor at Your HR Lawyer offers top top tips to make sure you are prepared when you first become boss.

You can already do your job well, that’s why you were promoted but as well as the increased paperwork, being put in charge can also bring with it the unexpected introduction of people management issues.

Here are some top tips to make sure you are prepared.

Managing the difficult transition from being one of the team to leading the team

As a member of a team you will have developed relationships with your peers. You may get on better with some more than others and this may have shaped your perception of them.

It is only natural for friendship groups to develop within teams especially as the size of the group increases. However, when making the move to lead that team, your job is to get the best out of everyone, not just those that you get on with. Every member of staff has something to offer and, as the boss, you need to find out what that is and encourage their continued contribution to the team’s success.

Resolving conflict

You may have been witness to conflict within the office on occasions, you know the type of scenario where polite debate runs over into heated argument. As a team member you may have looked on as those involved were quietly ushered into the manager’s office and emerge some time later, shame faced but, hopefully, with the tension defused.

As the boss, conflict within the workplace will be something you will encounter on a day-to-day basis. You will need to ensure that you approach conflict resolution even handedly, this is not the time for favouritism. At times it may feel that staff are pulling in completely different directions and it will be down to you to find and agree a positive way forward.

Having difficult conversations

As a boss you are not always going to be able to deliver good news. Where there are concerns over a team member’s performance or conduct, it will fall to you to let them know there is a problem and to manage it.

If your company is making redundancies you may be the one deciding who to let go and explaining this to them. Burying your head in the sand is not an option. These types of conversations are necessary from time to time, the key will be to ensure that the message is fully delivered whilst tying to keep the impact on morale and productivity at a minimum.

Seeing things from the other side

As a member of a team you may be aware that there are policies and procedures that apply to you but you may not pay that much attention to them.

When you are the boss you will need to keep an eye on things like absence records and performance to make sure that action is taken to address any issues before they develop into something bigger. You may come to appreciate that policies and procedures are in place for a reason and could actually provide you with a handy tool for managing your team.

Laura Evans is an Associate Solicitor at Your HR Lawyer.

Praseeda Nair

Kellen Rempel

Praseeda was Editor for from 2016 to 2018.

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