A Promotion From Team Member to Team Leader Requires Different Behavior

When you took on your team leader role, what you can say to whom and when changed too.

If you were recently promoted from a team member role to your team leader role, that means you brought along all of the baggage that existed in your old role.

Some of that can be hard to overcome.

Nobody, and I mean nobody, gets along with everybody.

It's highly likely that when you were a team member, you worked with someone who you didn't have the highest respect for — either because of their work ethic, personality, communication style or any other various reasons — so you avoided them like the plague.

And now that person works for you.

In addition, perhaps you had a confidant in your old role who shared your feelings about this person.

Someone who you could vent to about his latest mistake or mishandling of a project, someone you could blow off steam to so you didn't come unglued in public.

(Tacky, yes, but most people do talk about other people, especially the ones that irritate them.)

And now this person works for you too.

What do you do now that the tables have turned and you're the boss?

You certainly can't behave the way you did when you were a team member.

Here are two things you must do right now to get your team on track.

  1. Have a meeting with every single team member on your team. Your team members may be worried about “old baggage” and have some concerns about how that will influence your team leadership. One of the best ways to eliminate that concern is to conduct one-on-one discussions with each team member. When you have this discussion, really listen to each team member. Talk about their goals, find out what daily activities they really enjoy and talk about the future of the team. It's also important that you bring the team together to gain clarity on team roles and responsibilities, team mission and team goals.
  2. Find a coach you can confide in. Yes, you are going to need someone to talk things over with, to help you see the forest for the trees. This person should both challenge and support you as you grow in your new team leader role. You could search within your current organization or hire an external coach to help you. Just make sure you find someone that is not a member of your team.

Listen to my podcast on getting promoted from team member to team leader for more advice — Promoted! Moving From Team Member to Team Leader is Tough


About Denise O'Berry

Denise O'Berry is President of The Small Business Edge Corp, a small business consulting firm. A small business owner since 1996, Denise understands the challenges facing small business. She's lived them herself and helped hundreds of clients work through the frustrations, fears, and joys of owning a small business. Denise is the author of Small Business Cash Flow: Strategies for Making Your Business a Financial Success, a practical guide about keeping the cash in your business - where it belongs. Find more resources and tips at deniseoberry.com and askteamdoc.com