Before you were promoted to a supervisory position, if you had a hard day or a difficult decision you needed to talk through, you probably had a variety of people to turn to: your immediate supervisor, your team members, your friends and family. Now the path to good advice is not as obvious.
Friendships with former peers can become problematic, and it can be hard to break into the manager’s club.
Furthermore, many leaders, especially new ones, keep their concerns bottled up because they don’t want to appear weak or incompetent. The thing is, everyone, even leaders at the tippy top of the ladder need a network of people they can turn to for advice and friendship. Follow these to build one for yourself:
Look beyond your department
Just because you don’t know anything about accounting doesn’t mean that you won’t relate to the manager of the finance department. If you’re in a large organization, connect with others in supervisory roles. Your teams might do very different work, but you may find that your day-to-day managerial situations are quite similar.
Seek out a mentor
If your organization doesn’t automatically set you up with a mentor (and most don’t), track one down yourself. A good mentor can provide guidance during tough times and can help you anticipate issues before they become problems.
Joining a professional group
LinkedIn groups provide advice and support to their members. Pose a question to a group and you’re likely to receive some thoughtful answers. Better yet, engage with the group by answering others’ questions and not only will you gain their appreciation, but you’ll increase your own confidence. If you’d rather meet in person, check Meetup.com for business or networking groups in your area—and start your own if one doesn’t already exist. Or attend training seminars, like our Bud to Boss workshops to meet a group of new leaders who are experiencing the same challenges you are.
You do have to put yourself out there, but it will be worth it when you have a network of people who can help you navigate the challenges of leadership.
Now, check out these additional resources on friendships in the workplace: