One of the most challenging career assignments is that of becoming the manager of former peers, particular when you have been close friends. Without exception when I conduct Leadership Training programs, the question always comes up, “How should I handle that?”
First, I recommend that you let those people know the new role is difficult for you and that you will need their help, cooperation, support and feedback. If they are really your friends they will respond to that candid conversation.
Next, I urge them to talk to their team using the 3 Rs of your role transistion:
“In our new relationship each of us has 3 Rs: Rights, Responsibilities and Restrictions. Due to the fact that I am now your manager, each of us has a different 3 Rs but they can be helpful in guiding our relationship.
Let me share my 3Rs with you and then I would like you to share your perspective of yours with me.
I have a Responsibility to be fair and as objective as possible in our relationship; to provide you with timely and candid feedback; to be clear about my expectations of your performance and behaviors; to meet the goals my boss has assigned to me; to act in a way that represents the company professionally and ethically; to support you in your efforts to do your job and equip you with the skills and resources to be successful; to earn your trust in my new role
My Rights include: being treated with respect; hearing from you directly if there is something on your mind that affects our working relationship; your best effort; your commitment to follow rules; holding you accountable as a member of the team; to receive your support and encouragement in order for me to be successful in this job
I am Restricted in these ways: I can neither show favoritism nor prejudice in my relationship with you; I cannot blindside you with a performance problem and must follow the company’s due process and procedure; I must reward you consistent with company policy, no more, no less; I cannot violate the company code of ethics or the public laws related to employment or our manager/employee relationship; I cannot and will not be disrespectful to you.”
I hope that helps you understand some of the ways our relationship does and does not change. Now, I would like to understand what you see as your Responsibilities, Rights and Restrictions so we can get on the same page and enjoy working together.